Two Goodnight Students Receive National Recognition In Reading Contest

Students in Connie Martin-Thompson’s class at Goodnight Middle School joined thousands of students and hundreds of schools across America in the 2nd Annual Great Reading Games national reading event from January 9th to February 28th

Over 17,000 readers read across the nation in the Great Reading Games reading 5.3 million pages in a seven-week period sponsored by Learning Ally. 

Goodnight Middle school came in 51st in the nation reading 23,992 pages and with two students receiving outstanding reading awards for their effort.

Martin-Thompson was thrilled to announce the accomplishments of two Goodnight students: 8th graders Nathan Kinsey and Shelly Backus. 

Both students received National recognition for their hard work and dedication to reading in the Great Reading Games. 

Shelly Backus read 4,375 pages and earned 46,451 points for Goodnight whereas, Nathan Kinsey read 3,994 pages and earned 44,941 points for our school.

According to Martin-Thompson, during the competition students read at night earning points for every 20 minutes they read from January 9th to February the 28th. 

Persistence along with incentives was the key— phone calls were made, email reminders sent out and announcements were made regularly to encourage and remind students to read. Students read before school, after school and then at home.

Martin-Thompson said, “Practice! It just makes you a better reader. With encouragement, inspiration and technology, students can overcome any challenge and strive to become better readers.”

Shelly and Nathan ranked at the top, but another high point reader at Goodnight was 7th grader Justien Hernandez who read over 2,808 pages bringing in 30,881 points for the school. 

Other readers that participated in the Great Reading Games (all from Martin-Thompson’s classes and earning points for Goodnight) were: Ezra Mendez, Felicity Ortiz, Cyndy Rodriguez, David Banda, Ella Escobedo, Jesyka Banda, Jaime Ramirez, Hannah Bueno, Jocelyn Rodriguez, Rashelle Luna, Marcellus Duran, Marco Guerrero, Lamount Harvey, Pablo Heredia Garcia, Trae Arredondo Mendez, Celeste Putnam, Weston Gutierrez, Reese Majors, Exavion Harris, Dylan Alvarez, Molly McLaughlin, Josiah De Leon, Hollie Matlock, Christian Alexander, Armando Trey Jimenez, Samantha Escamilla, Amari Luna, McKeanna Saenz, Bonny Flores, Jennifer Leal, Francisco Corona, Hasana Ray, Desiree Matlock, Allison Tapley,  Daniel Lucio, Joseph Diaz, Elena Ramirez, Xavier Hernandez and Isaiah Ridings.

Martin-Thompson added, “Overall Goodnight’s students stayed in the top 100 schools throughout the entire competition. We moved from 46th place in the beginning then to 92nd, and we finished 51st in the nation.

Learning Ally is an audiobook technology program that provides more than 80,000 human voiced narrated books to choose from and read. 

Students download the books directly to their computers, tablets, smartphones or I Pad device and it gives them the ability to read at home, or school.

Martin-Thompson said, “Through Learning Ally audiobook technology, and the support of my school, and the parents, my students have the opportunity to access critical reading material to enhance their personal and academic achievement that they might normally not be able to read.  I hope to acquire more tablets so I can provide all of my students the opportunity to read daily through this reading program.  Since many students do not have access to devices, I had to rotate out my devices and even send my personal iPads home with students to read at night.  Learning Ally is truly has been a great program that has enriched our instruction at Goodnight.”

She continued, “I’m excited about the enthusiasm in my students as they continue to make drastic growth in their reading levels, and I see the self-confidence that follows.  Shelly and Nathan are two of my strongest readers and have encouraged others to read by their example and successes.  I am ecstatic about placing in the top 100 schools in the competition and so very proud of my students’ national recognition.  Shelly is the daughter of Juanita Espinoza Backus and John Backus, and Nathan is the son of Rick and Michele Kinsey.  It’s truly amazing what one can do in just seven weeks.  Never quit reading!”


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