Arizona Third Graders are "Reading to the Final Four"

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Basketball fever has descended on Arizona.  The 2017 Final Four tournament will be hosted by the NCAA and Arizona State University on March 31 – April 3.  To start the celebration,  Governor Ducey, Mayor Stanton and executive leadership from the NCAA kicked off the Final Four at a press conference in downtown Phoenix on January 25. 

“The NCAA tourney and Final Four are some of the greatest and most unique venues in sports,” said Governor Doug Ducey.  “In the span of just a few weeks, special memories are born, life lessons are learned and student athletes from every background get a chance to shine on the national stage.  This is the first time the road to the final four will lead to Arizona and we are ecstatic to watch so many dreams be realized.” 

As part of the Final Four celebrations, the NCAA and the Phoenix Local Organizing Committee are committed to leaving a lasting legacy in the host cities.  These projects are designed to demonstrate the lasting impact that the Final Four has in the local communities.  Helios is proud to support “Read to the Final Four” – Phoenix’s legacy project.   Read to the Final Four is a tournament-style reading competition for Arizona third-graders, that will crown a literacy champion on March 31, the day before the national men’s basketball semifinals. 

The goal is to use the excitement of the 2017 Final Four to encourage third-grade students to accelerate their reading.  Third-grade is a pivotal year for students.  It is when students transition from learning to read to reading to learn.  It is critical that all students are reading at grade level by the end of third grade.  Read to the Final Four is helping to encourage students to read by creating a literacy challenge and competition style contest.

The contest mimics the March Madness bracket, with schools advancing based on the number of minutes read.  The top 68 schools have been placed in a single-elimination bracket, with winners advancing until a champion is crowned during Final Four weekend.

“Helios is proud to join the NCAA, the Phoenix Local Organizing Committee and MyON to support the Read to the Final Four effort in Arizona,” said Paul J. Luna, president and CEO, Helios Education Foundation.  “This effort is a unique and creative way to get children excited about reading, which we believe is critical for academic success.”

Currently, students in the top 68 schools are competing and collectively have read more than 2 million minutes.  That number will continue to rise over the next two months helping to ensure more Arizona children become stronger and more proficient readers.

Click here to read more about Read to the Final Four.