My favorite 5th grade teacher is now working with kindergartners, so while I still work with a 5th grade class, my Super 64 battle of the books is not B3 – B cubed – Mrs. B’s Book Bracket – anymore. Still fun, still full of great books. I still like the logo, too, so darn it, I’m keeping it.
But somehow I blew past the first few rounds without writing anything about it, and here we are, down to the Final 4 already. When I visited the day before Spring Break, the kids were in the middle of a party with their younger buddies, so we didn’t vote while I was there, which means I don’t know who’s made it to the semi-finals. Here are the final eight with the winners:
Wonder vs. Swindle – WINNER: Wonder
The Giver vs. Holes – WINNER: Holes
I Survived (series) vs. The Lightning Thief – WINNER: The Lightning Thief
Escaping the Giant Wave vs. Diary of a Wimpy Kid – WINNER: Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Doing a book bracket, even with kids who don’t see themselves as big readers, has been a great way to get discussions going about books. I gave out bookmarks with the covers of the final eight on them, and I know at least a few kids might use those for future reading selections.
In the past, the fifth graders I’ve visited have been big readers, with a lot to say about their favorites and the match-ups. The school has a real culture of reading, and the fifth grade teacher did a lot of extra things to promote interest in books and reading. This year’s group is quite a bit less enthusiastic about books in general, which may be due to the change in teaching staff or to a dynamic within the class rather than the more apocalyptic “kids never read anymore.” In the past, I’d often have quite a few kids with strong opinions about anything I talked about it. This year, it’s always the same one or two kids who speak up. When we started voting, quite a few kids wouldn’t even vote for more than one book.
Now, however, we’re to the point in the competition where they cheer whether they’ve read the books or not. It’s not much, but maybe it’s a start.