Tournament of Books

What You Need:

  • 16 favorite books (titles and images of the book covers, if possible)
  • Blank bracket for 16 teams
  • Voting Slips for each day of voting

What You Do:

  1. Identify 16 of your learners’ favorite books. Gather the titles and small images of the book covers, if possible. These images will be placed on the master copy of the blank bracket, and copies of the bracket can be made for each individual to keep track of the votes.
  2. Give each student a copy of the bracket to fill out and predict the winners. For every correct answer throughout the tournament, students will receive a point. 
  3. Kick off the tournament by giving students the opportunity to read or reread the books before voting begins. Support younger learners by reading the books aloud to them. Explain to students that they will choose which one of the two books they liked more for each section of the bracket.
  4. Designate which days throughout the tournament will be for voting. At the beginning of a voting day, give each student a Voting Slip to complete. Support younger students by helping them to complete the voting slip, or you can use an alternative form of voting, such as placing a tally mark next to the book in the master bracket. 
  5. Determine a place in the classroom to have them turn in their Voting Slip. Note that students must have read both books in order to participate in the voting for that particular step.
  6. Tally up the votes and determine the winner for that specific challenge. Record it on your master bracket, and have students record it on their copies as well. Have students keep track of their points on their brackets.
  7. Continue the voting schedule you had established until a champion in the Tournament of Books has been crowned.
  8. Check in with students to see whose bracket earned the most points. Offer praise and celebration as appropriate for your classroom.

This fun book– and basketball–themed activity will build community as it engages your readers and gets them talking about the books they’ve read. It will also give them a taste of what it feels like to fulfill their civic duty of voting!

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