Reading wasn’t something Gladimi Petit Carnogursky, a seventh-grader at Herndon Middle School, considered fun.
But when his school joined the Learning Ally Great Reading Games this year, he latched on.
“My parents don’t really let me play video games, but I have an iPad,” he said. “So I read a lot on it.”
A lot indeed. Gladimi read over 12,000 pages during the seven-week competition. That wasn’t just the most in his school — it was the most in the entire state of Virginia.
“I like the competition,” he said when asked about his motivation.
So did many other students at HMS, as the school won first place in the Metro DC region in the contest and came in seventh place nationally. Participating students read more than 72,000 pages, totaling about 14.5 million words.
The Great Reading Games is geared toward students who struggle with reading traditional text, because of dyslexia or other reasons. Learning Ally provides audiobook technology that offers more than 82,000 human-narrated books to students, who can download them directly to computers, smartphones and tablets so they can read wherever they are.
Gladimi’s friend Trent Norris, who read the third-most pages at HMS, said he liked being able to have a book anywhere he went. He said his mother encouraged him to keep reading through the seven weeks of the Games.
“I liked to read when I was going somewhere with my mom,” he said. “My sister and my mom would be talking, and I’d decide to listen to music, but then I thought I should read instead.”
At a ceremony at the school Friday morning, the more than 100 participating students were honored for the reading they did, and each received certificates of accomplishment. The students who read the most received prizes as well, with Gladimi taking home the top prize: a set of Beats headphones.
“Think about how much this means to me as a principal,” HMS Principal Justine Klena told students. “You all are reading so much, and that is the foundation of education — this is the reason we’re all here. You are engaging in reading and that means you’re getting smarter every day.”
Margot Axenson-Mumford, who read the fifth-most pages among participating students, said she enjoyed reading the first four Harry Potter books for the first time, and she plans to complete the series as she continues to be an avid reader. Her mother, Theresa, said she is impressed by her daughter’s accomplishment.
“I’m really proud of Margot,” she said. “She’s worked really hard.”
Pictured at top: The top 9 students, from left, were Gladimi Petit Carnogursky, Emma Baker, Trent Norris, Christina Roque, Margot Axenson-Mumford, Fabrizio Abarca, Seleni Aguirre-Echeverria, Charles Marotta and Nathan Emmatty. Pictured at bottom: Trent Norris accepts his accolades from Herndon Middle School teachers.