These books made the cut! Which one will win in the end. VOTE!

I know many things, but sports, and I mean all sports (except bicycling), elude my comprehension. About four years ago a sixth grade teacher at my school somehow got me into March Madness. Call me clueless because I didn’t even know how to fill out the brackets. I waited and waited and waited some more because I didn’t want to admit I didn’t know anything about how to fill out the form. It was daunting to predict. But why not? The kids were completely enthralled.

Several people and students came to my rescue. My system wasn’t unique. I’ve heard many people choose teams based on team colors. Sounded like good system. Plus, I know my cities, so of course, name recognition came in handy. I chose teams based on cities I’d visited or colleges I knew from my youth, or even colleges my relatives attended. Shopping too. If the city had good shopping it garnered my vote. I invented random!

I chose Duke to win because my Uncle Gus and Aunt Julia went to Duke. Why not? Well, they won and I did pretty well in my brackets that year. I shocked more than a few people.

Late in January, I started to wonder: could brackets work with books? Every year we read the newest, best books. The list of Reading on the Ridge nominees comes from several regional and national book nominee lists. The great thing about these lists is that the books are new. This year I decided to try something different. I ran a report of the 24 books on that list and narrowed it down to the top 16 which circulated.

Those books make up the first round of selections. Students have been reading the books’ stats. Yes, book have stats. Starting about two weeks ago I passed out iPads and gave students a chance to scan QR codes of the Sweet 16 titles and see what others think about the selections. As they read critically about the books I’ve notice students share and discuss and analyze with the same scrutiny some experts apply to sports predictions. There’s guess work, the’s science, there are favorites and students are involved and engaged. A group of six boys came into the library at lunch today to ask me about their brackets. They’d been chatting and were reviewing one of their choices. I couldn’t suppress my glee.

Students have been more engaged and interested in these books and the circulation of those 16 titles has skyrocketed. Did I mention that they have put some on HOLD since reading the reviews? As we work on predictions and students complete their own “book brackets” they are guessing which book will win, but I’ve seen them interact with the books more than ever!

What’s next? Voting! That’s like game day, right? There are four rounds and voting has started. Voting for this round closes on Tuesday. Then Round Two opens on the 14th. Stay tuned. See the link to the right. I’m a fan!

I think it’s a slam dunk!