March Madness Fun for Your Kids with Freebies

Let's celebrate March Madness with these fun basketball themed books and activities. Check out this post for teaching ideas and resources.
March Madness is here in more ways than one! Your students may be thinking about basketball and watching for their favorite teams to win. We, on the other hand, are thinking about how many days we have left before state testing (and whether our favorite teams are going to make it to the final four!). In honor of March Madness, I thought I'd share teaching ideas with a basketball twist.

Great Books with a Basketball Theme

Let's celebrate March Madness with these fun basketball themed books and activities. Check out this post for teaching ideas and resources.Of course, one of the first options with a basketball theme is to use biographies of basketball greats. The kiddos in your classroom have a list of their favorites no doubt, and you can find biographies of most of them. There are great books out for Stephen Curry, Michael Jordan, Lebron James, and many others.

Other options we can find are picture books about parts of these players' lives. Salt in His Shoes, The Boy Who Never Gave Up, The Boy Who Became the King, and Dream Big are just a few you might check out. 

Let's celebrate March Madness with these fun basketball themed books and activities. Check out this post for teaching ideas and resources.
Finally, we can bring in nonfiction skills with informational texts on how the game is played. One that looked really great to me is Let's Talk Basketball. It had all of the nonfiction elements, and we're using it this week for teaching nonfiction text features. You can download the flipbook by clicking the image to the left. The nonfiction features are those listed in the first grade standard, so it doesn't include them all. Even so, it would work well in a station for grades 1-3 I think.

Literacy Activities with a Basketball Theme

Reading Incentives
With the basketball tournament in progress already, this may be an activity you look at for next year (at least I plan to! 😉). I see this as a great way to highlight great literature whether the book wins or not. The title and author are out there for display, and that gets kids interested in reading them. Kids could even do their own book brackets, and if you look up March Madness Reading on TPT, you'll see several grade level options. Here are a few others you might check out:

Reading Challenge

Upper Elementary Reading Brackets

March Madness Bookmarks

Fluency Freebie

Let's celebrate March Madness with this fun poetry freebie. It includes printables you can use all week long to practice comprehension, word working skills, and fluency.
For students in the middle grades (2-4), this poetry set might work well. This is an original poem written by yours truly, and I hope the little sports fans in your room enjoy it. It comes with printables to address comprehension and work work skills too. Throughout the week, you can use the first page for repeated reading, for marking phrases, for word hunts (sightwords), and for word study. Research shows that repeated readings improves phrasing and fluency rate. Try it and see how you like it.  If your kids do, there is a whole set of poems featuring 9 different sports [HERE]

Cross Curriculum Materials with a Basketball Theme

Free STEM Challenge: Basketball TowerSTEM CHALLENGE

This freebie looks so fun, and I can see this being a great team building, cross curricular activity. I love the idea of problem solving and team planning to build oral skills. Kids need LOTS of oral discussion, and activities such as this capitalize on these skills. Teachers can also bring in writing skills by having kids write the directions for how they build the basketball tower.


During March Madness, it is a lot of fun to research basketball greats. These close reading sets feature two players, Lebron James and Stephan Curry. They work well for teaching close reading procedures as well as questioning skills such as analyzing question types and finding text evidence to support thinking.


This freebie is focused on professional basketball versus NCAA, but since March highlights basketball, it might work well. Reader's Theater is a fantastic teaching strategy for building fluency, comprehension, and questioning. This freebie from my friend, Erin at Mrs. Beers Language Arts Class is perfect for your little sports fans.

Save It for Later

March Madness teaches us the importance of student choice. Kids love activities and books that match their interests. This post includes free materials with a basketball theme.Children love playing, watching, and talking about sports, and because they find sports exciting, why not take advantage of that excitement and include sports themes in our teaching. You may find these activities fun this year, but just in case you want to wait til next year, here is a pin image you can use. I hope your team (if you have on in the tournament) does well. Mine lost in the second round, so I guess I'll be happy to have an earlier bedtime??!!? LOL! 

Have a fun week!

1 comment

  1. I agree! Children like to play. So why not mix learning with playing? It makes perfect sense to me. Thank you for sharing this with us!


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