Students at Herndon Middle placed first in the Metro-DC Region of the national competition, while seventh grader Gladimi Carnogursky earned first place in the commonwealth of Virginia. Herndon Town Councilmember Signe Friedrichs, school administrators, parents and Learning Ally representatives honored the school at a ceremony on Friday, April 21.
Photo courtesy of Learning Ally
How the Games Work
Learning Ally provides audiobook technology to the students who then select from 82,000 human-narrated textbooks, non-fiction or literature. Students can download the books directly onto their electronic devices. Students earn points for pages and minutes read.
Herndon Middle School students were recognized for their performance in the Third Annual Reading Games, a national reading contest.
Students at the school competed against 17,317 students in more than 1,200 schools across the country. Their team, the “Read Like Hawks,” read their way to winning the Great Reading Games Metro-DC Championship. Gladimi Carnogursky, a seventh grader, also placed first in the commonwealth of Virginia in the individual competition.
Not only did Herndon Middle School excel in the Great Reading Games, but other Fairfax County Public Schools performed well. In addition to Herndon Middle School, Armstrong Elementary School, Sandburg Middle School, Pulley Center and West Potomac High School all came in the top 100.
The games were put on by Learning Ally, a national nonprofit that supports people with reading disabilities, including blindness, visual impairment, dyslexia and other learning differences.
“Educators in Fairfax County Schools are true champions for students and an example for other school districts across the country,” Terrie Noland, Learning Ally’s national director of educator engagement, said in a statement. “Through our partnership, the county is ensuring struggling readers have access to grade-level books and helping students to love books in the process.”
Students who participate in the games struggle with reading traditional text, which impacts their reading of print. Due to their reading challenges, students often may not participate in book clubs and other classroom reading activities. This can impact their self-esteem and cause students to fall behind in their studies.
“I have seen a marked increase in kids’ positive attitudes toward reading and their interest in what they are reading,” Jan Killian, a reading teacher at the school, said in a statement. “I have seen kids who previously struggled to finish a book, turn into voracious readers.”
The Great Reading Games competition challenged all students to increase the amount of time they spent reading.
“We are so proud of our students,” Killian said. “They have been reading so many great books.”
Of the 20 schools that were part of the FCPS and Learning Ally partnership, 1,577 students read more than 329,516 pages.