Read to the Final Four competition tips off statewide this week

Minnesota third graders taking part in a reading competition ahead of the 2022 NCAA Women’s Final Four in Minneapolis

Article originally published at Herald Review.

It’s time for Minnesota third graders to hit the books for Read to the Final Four. The program tipped off this week with thousands of students taking part in a reading competition to win a trip to Tourney Town at the 2022 NCAA Women’s Final Four in Minneapolis. Local classes participating include Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig School and Hill City Elementary.

Designed to leave a lasting impact and legacy on students throughout the state of Minnesota, Read to the Final Four aims to inspire youth toward a lifetime dedication and love of reading and learning. The challenge includes:

  • Over 6,200 third grade students
  • More than 100 elementary schools across Minnesota – from Adrian to International Falls – as well as several tribal schools and numerous metro area schools
  • The top four schools will win a trip to Tourney Town – the official fan festival of the 2022 NCAA Women’s Final Four
  • The champion school will receive a trophy and a $5000 stipend from Scholastic Books

During the competition, third-grade students will read physical or digital books each week and enter minutes read into a reading log. Average minutes read by students will be calculated for each school to ensure equity between smaller and larger schools. Each week, the top schools will be awarded prizes.
“Literacy is a lifelong skill. Not only does it serve as a foundation for students’ pre-K-12 education, it also empowers them for lifelong learning. Read to the Final Four is an opportunity for all families, caregivers, and children to come together to build literacy skills and a love for reading,” said Read to the Final Four Honorary Co-Chair Dr. Heather Mueller, Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Education. “Our students and families have faced incredible disruptions throughout the pandemic, and this challenge is a wonderful opportunity to support them and their learning.”

“Bringing major events like the 2022 NCAA Women’s Final Four to our state has far-reaching effects well beyond what occurs on the court,” said Minnesota Local Organizing Committee Co-Executive Director Wendy Blackshaw. “From Read to the Final Four to Dream Court and many other initiatives, these events leave a significant positive impact on our community.”

In addition to Mueller, honorary co-chairs of Read to the Final Four include:

  • Shelly Breen, author of the children’s book series “Shelly Bean the Sports Queen”
  • Shelly Buck, Prairie Island Indian Community Tribal Council President
  • Qorsho Hassan, 2020 Minnesota Teacher of the Year and fourth-grade teacher at Echo Park Elementary in Burnsville
  • Randall McDaniel, Pro Football Hall of Famer and former elementary school tutor

Read to the Final Four is presented by the NCAA and the Minnesota Local Organizing Committee of the 2022 NCAA Women’s Final Four.

Minneapolis will host the 2022 NCAA Women’s Final Four at Target Center on Friday, April 1 and Sunday, April 3. There are a variety of ticket options for fans, with all-session prices starting at $100. In addition to the games, the NCAA Women’s Final Four includes numerous free events for fans, such as Tourney Town, Bounce, Super Saturday Concert, Party on the Plaza, and more. For more information, go to or