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March Madness, Books Edition

Mill Creek Middle School students are narrowing top-rated books to declare their March Madness Tournament of Books final champion.

Students began the tourney with 16 books, selected because they are award winners on the website Goodreads, and favorites among students in the sixth- through eighth-grade school. Students vote by using a QR code. The pool recently narrowed to eight books and will eventually, in true March Madness fashion, be eliminated to four, then two, and finally, a victor.

It’s the second year for the program run during March is Reading month. It was started by sixth-grade social studies and language arts teacher Veronica VanWagoner, who got the idea from the social media website Pinterest. Students also made their picks on brackets.

“They root for the books they read and liked the most,” said VanWagoner, who noted her students cheered when the final eight were recently announced. “I see them, rather than picking out the shortest books, picking these books because they know they are good. It expands their base of what they typically would read.”

Seventh-grader Arica Wade is rooting for “Divergent” by Veronica Roth, or “The Last Hours” by Cassandra Clare, as the champion book. “Competing with books is a good idea because you can see which ones are the best and what’s a good selection for you,” Arica said.


March Madness Tournament of Books on Pinterest

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Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is associate managing editor and reporter, covering Byron Center, Kentwood, Wyoming and Grand Rapids Community College. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013 and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio


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