HISD third-graders to join NCAA Read to the Final Four literacy challenge

Nearly 6,800 Houston Independent School District third-graders will participate in a bracket-themed reading challenge as part of the NCAA Team Works Read to the Final Four Literacy Program.

The competition was created by the district in partnership with the Houston NCAA Final Four Local Organizing Committee, Houston Public Library, and the University of Houston. Houston will host the 2016 NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four April 2-4 at NRG Stadium.

The literacy challenge kicks off on Thursday, Sept. 24, with a special celebration at Blackshear Elementary School, one of 68 campuses selected to participate in the challenge based on its high enrollment of at-risk students and commitment to the district’s Literacy By 3 Initiative.  Launched in the fall of 2014, Literacy By 3 aims to have every child reading on grade level by the end of third grade.

Schools will advance in the literacy competition based on the amount of time their students spend reading. Only schools with the highest average number of reading minutes will continue in the competition. To help facilitate the competition, the Houston Public Library will provide each student with a free library card that allows them to access all Houston-area libraries and digital learning resources.

The winning school will be announced in April and will receive a $5,000 cash prize, Final Four trophy, campus celebration, and recognition at an official Final Four event.

The kickoff is scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 24, at Blackshear Elementary School, 2900 Holman Street.