A class at Pine Village Elementary School was the winner of the Read to the Final Four Championship.

The event was conducted by the NCAA and Indiana Sports Corporation. Second place went to Greenwood Christian, third place to Brooklyn Elementary and Columbus Christian was fourth.

The school conducted a celebration March 31. Quinn Buckner’s class was the top winner.

Read to the Final Four, launched in October 2020 with 300 elementary schools across Indiana, is a literacy program organized by the NCAA and local organizers for third grade students and classrooms, according to information provided. The schools were narrowed to a field of 68 in January to form a bracket for competition. Since then, like the traditional bracket for basketball, schools have competed to advance based on points awarded, which takes into consideration minutes read and school enrollment.

The reading program this year is financed by the Indy Championships Fund, a local non-profit community initiative that raises funds to support premier sporting events in Indianapolis.

Overall, Indiana students read more than 350,000 books and logged more than 7.5 million minutes reading during the program, said JoAn Scott, NCAA managing director of men’s basketball. “Congratulations to each of these schools and the students who have worked so hard during Read to the Final Four,” Scott said. “We value the opportunity to take the excitement of college basketball and extend it to classrooms across the state. From the basketball court to the bookshelf, it’s another example of bringing March Madness to the communities of Indiana.” In addition to being awarded $1,000 for a library refresh as one of the Elite Eight schools, each of the third-grade teachers for the Final Four schools featured below will receive $500 for a library refresh in their own classroom. The top four schools will also be treated to a celebration at their schools. Finally, one third grade student from each of the four regions was also awarded top reader and received a new bike and helmet for their hard work. As the 2021 Read to the Final Four program comes to completion, here are some monumental stats to showcase these third graders hard work: There were 300 schools and 22,050 students participating in the program. There were 761,307 books accessed and 352,341 books completed. This amounted to 7,566,601 minutes read, 16,388,771 pages read, and 1,204,655,789 words read.

Founded in 1979 as the nation’s first sports commission, Indiana Sports Corp is a not-for-profit organization focused on bringing premier sporting events to Indiana to drive economic vitality, facilitate a vibrant community with civic pride and garner positive media attention. Because of this, Indiana Sports Corp is able to provide positive, sports-related opportunities for youth in the community. For more information, please visit IndianaSportsCorp.org.

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