Readers Become Leaders Program

The NCAA Readers Become Leaders Program aims to help teachers who are dealing with a literacy crisis that affects children of all demographics. Educational data have shown that if reading is below grade level by the fourth grade, students are four times more likely to drop out of school. Readers Become Leaders was created to encourage children to explore their talents, which lays a foundation for future educational goals, such as attending college.

In 2019, the Fort Worth Sports Commission teamed up with the NCAA Readers Become Leaders program and the Fort Worth ISD to implement the program in grades K – 5 as part of the NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships – hosted at the Fort Worth Convention Center Arena.  More than 17,000 FWISD students participated in the program reading a total of more than 6.7 million minutes making it the single biggest community outreach program in NCAA history! 

The program has continued since 2019 with great success.  In four years, the program has seen more than 55,000 students read more than 29 million minutes.  In 2022, the ten-week initiative featured 40 elementary schools – representing 14,788 students – that read a total of 14,940,594 minutes. All students received a free book courtesy of the NCAA® and Scholastic Book Company for participating.


November 9: Registration Opens
January 20: Last Day to Register
January 23: Competition Starts
April 3: Last day to log minutes for the readers
April 12: Winner to be announced at NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships Open Practice


*The first 40 schools that sign up received a library refresh – 150 new books (25 per grade level) donated to their library by the Fort Worth Sports Commission.  

1st Place School 
  • $1500 Scholastic credit
  • $500 gift card (provided by FW Sports Commission to pay for pizza party)
  • $100 Visa gift card for each teacher (provided by FW Sports Commission)
  • Scholastic Grab and Go packet for each student – five (5) books per pack
  • Appearance by Clifford the Big Red Dog for Pizza Party
Top Classroom for all grades K – 5
  • $500 Scholastic Gift Card 
  • Scholastic Grab & Go packets for all students – five (5) books per pack
  • $100 Visa Gift Card for the Teacher (provided by FW Sports Commission)
2nd & 3rd Place School
  • $250 Scholastic Gift card (provided by FW Sports Commission)
  • $75 Visa gift card for each teacher (provided by the FW Sports Commission)
  • School Library Refresh – 150 books new books for the school library

* Throughout the 10-week competition, students will receive fun items to keep them motivated and excited about reading.  These items include gift cards, bookmarks, water bottles, drawstring backpacks, pizza parties and other items.

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