‘Read to the Final Four’ Literacy Tournament Tips off Across Arizona

The contest will use excitement around the 2017 NCAA basketball championship to inspire third-graders to read
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The contest will use excitement around the 2017 NCAA basketball championship to inspire third-graders to read

The contest will use excitement around the 2017 NCAA basketball championship to inspire third-graders to read

(PHOENIX) November 1, 2016 — With the help of the myON personalized literacy environment, third-graders across Arizona will compete in NCAA Team Works Read to the Final Four, a tournament-style reading competition that will crown a literacy champion on March 31, the day before the national men's basketball semifinals.

"Our mission is to inspire third-grade students in all Arizona schools to accelerate their reading, using the excitement of the 2017 Final Four to spike their interest," said Dawn Rogers, CEO/executive director of the Phoenix Local Organizing Committee, which is collaborating with the NCAA to host the 2017 Final Four at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale. "Read to the Final Four is one of a series of projects that demonstrate the lasting impact that the 2017 Final Four will have on our state. We're working to leave a legacy that will last for years to come and provide these students an experience that they will never forget.”

Participation is free to all Arizona schools. The three-month literacy challenge will be based upon average time spent reading among third-grade students, who will receive unlimited access to myON’s more than 5,500 digital books and accompanying literacy tools.

“myON is thrilled to partner with so many wonderful organizations to leverage excitement around the Final Four Tournament. The collective goal is to inspire all Arizona third-graders to achieve grade-level reading proficiency and inspire a life-long love of reading through Read to the Final Four,” said Todd Brekhus, the president of myON. “Our team is gearing up to help every student become a star reader, every teacher a winning coach, and every family member an effective cheerleader.”

The contest mimics the March Madness bracket, with schools advancing based on the number of minutes their students have read. The warm-up phase of the competition begins now. In late January, the top 68 schools will be placed in a single-elimination bracket, with winners advancing until a champion is crowned during Final Four weekend. 

The Phoenix Local Organizing Committee teamed up with NCAA Team Works, Helios Education Foundation, and Read On Arizona to create the competition.

"We are extremely excited by PLOC's enthusiasm to assist Arizona elementary school teachers as they get children excited about reading," said Victor Hill, the associate director of NCAA Team Works community programs. “We can't wait for the competition to begin and to see the great results we know the children will achieve from reading.” 

Helios Education Foundation is dedicated to creating opportunities for individuals in Arizona and Florida to succeed in postsecondary education by advancing the academic preparedness of all students and fostering a high-expectation, college-going culture. Helios recognizes the importance of early-grade success to college and career readiness and, as a result, supports programs and initiatives that increase early literacy and promote reading at grade level by the end of third grade. 

“Helios is proud to support the Read to the Final Four effort in Arizona,” said Paul J. Luna, the president and CEO of the 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.” 

To tip off the tournament, men's basketball coaches Bobby Hurley of Arizona State University, Sean Miller of the University of Arizona, and Dan Majerle of Grand Canyon University read to third-graders in classrooms in their respective communities throughout the month of October

Schools may register at ReadToTheFinalFour.com.

About myON
myON, a business unit of Capstone, has created a personalized digital literacy environment that transforms learning. myON expands the classroom for teachers and students by providing unlimited access to the largest collection of more than 11,000 enhanced digital books with multimedia supports, real-time assessments, and a growing Literacy Toolkit that enhances the myON literacy ecosystem. myON empowers students and teachers with real-time, actionable data—number and type of books opened and read, time spent reading, results of regular benchmark assessments, and more—based on embedded Lexile® assessments that measure student reading and writing growth. With myON, every student experiences the benefits of personalized literacy instruction to propel them to new and unlimited learning opportunities. To learn more, visit myON.com.

About the Phoenix Local Organizing Committee
The Phoenix Local Organizing Committee (PLOC) is a non-profit organization that is hosting the 2017 NCAA Men's Final Four. The committee is comprised of Arizona business, tourism and sports leaders and will collaborate with the NCAA to support the Final Four's myriad of ancillary events and to establish legacy projects that will ensure the lasting impact of the Final Four in the Valley. The PLOC will raise funds to support the event and ensure that the 2017 Final Four showcases the standard of excellence this iconic event deserves. The 2017 Final Four will be played at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., with the national semifinals on Saturday, April 1 and the national final on Monday, April 3, 2017. For more information visit http://www.phoenixfinalfour.com.

Kristen Pflipsen
Bagnato Pflipsen Communications

Andy Bagnato
Bagnato Pflipsen Communications

Jacob Hanson
PR with Panache!



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