March Madness at Wampatuck

Isabella Monteiro

March is an exciting month for college basketball fans across the country. However, this year, students at Wampatuck Elementary School experienced a different type of March Madness when they read 16 new books as part of the “March Literacy Madness.” Literacy specialists at the school started this reading project last year during the pandemic so students in kindergarten through grade 5 could connect with one another during a time of isolation. Although students are back at school full-time this year, Wampatuck did it again.

Every day for the first 16 days of March a different book is read to the students by a guest reader on video. Guest readers included retired teachers, members of the administration, authors, and even students. The school’s bracket is made through a collective vote, one per class, and the final eight, then four, then two are announced each week. Finally, the top book is chosen at a school-wide assembly where classes cast their votes and the numbers are counted on a chart for the students to see. Elementary reading specialist Lynn Flannery said, “Kids get more and more excited as they see the charts grow.” In fact, the schoolwide excitement lasts all month long.

But competition isn’t the only reason why so many students love the activity. Students seem to appreciate the books, their message, the group effort, and the excitement of the community activity. Cecelia, who is a third-grader at Wampatuck, said, “I realized how fun reading was especially when I get to do it with my friends.” According to Flannery, the community feeling among the students only grows stronger when they read books that highlight diversity, equality, and inclusion. Every child, even those in kindergarten, can recognize the themes of these books. 

March Literacy Madness brings the students at Wampatuck Elementary School together in a new and fun way. It fosters strong moral character while also encouraging growth among students. As a result of the program, students report they are reading more on their own for enjoyment. Although the program was originally designed to combat the separation of the school community during the pandemic, it continues to create a positive reading experience for Wampatuck students.