PHOENIX – The 2024 Men’s Final Four Host Committee, the NCAA and Helios Education Foundation are teaming up to present Read to the Final Four, a contest to inspire Arizona third graders to accelerate their reading skills and increase academic achievement, using the excitement surrounding the 2024 Men’s Final Four.

Read to the Final Four is free and open to schools across Arizona. The competition will be based on average time spent reading by third grade students.  Read to the Final Four mimics the March Madness brackets, with schools advancing to further levels of competition based on the average number of minutes read. The first phase of competition, the Qualifying Challenge, takes place this fall. The top 68 schools will be invited to participate in the Challenge Bracket in January.

The Final Four schools with the highest average number of minutes read will be announced the week of March 4, 2024; all four will be celebrated and a champion announced on Friday, April 5, 2024. The Read to the Final Four champion school will receive a $5,000 cash prize to support reading, literacy or library programs. The 2024 Men’s Final Four is set for April 6 and 8, 2024 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale.

Read to the Final Four is pivotal to our mission to leave a positive legacy in Arizona long after the Final Four is over,” said Jay Parry, CEO of the 2024 Men’s Final Four Host Committee. “We’re focused on providing these students with an experience they will never forget. We’re grateful to the NCAA and Helios Education Foundation for their strong support of this important initiative.”

“First and foremost, the NCAA is about education, and that’s why Read to the Final Four is so important to us,” said JoAn Scott, NCAA Managing Director, Men’s Basketball Championships. “We’re thrilled that March Madness can inspire students to develop a love for reading that will last a lifetime.”

“Reading is an essential academic skill and the foundation for learning,” said Vince Roig, founding chairman of Helios Education Foundation’s board of directors. “That is why we are proud to support Read to the Final Four. We think it’s a fun and memorable way to get thousands of kids excited about reading.”

The Qualifying Challenge portion of the competition tips off on October 16; schools are encouraged to register to participate by October 13. For more information, please visit