Students recognized for reading Millions of Words

LENOIR, NC (June 5, 2020) — Not even school closure could keep students away from the books, as proven by 406 students who recently earned the title of million-word reader.

Jerry Henline, 7th grader at GMS, and 5th-year medalist for the million-word recognition.

To qualify for the Caldwell County Schools Million Word recognition, students accumulated words by reading books and taking Accelerated Reader (AR) quizzes in which they scored an average of 85% or higher to receive credit. To put it in perspective, if a student reads a million words or more in eight months, they are typically reading from 45 minutes to over 180 minutes per day.

Accelerated Reader is a reading practice program that is used in elementary and middle schools to stimulate interest and development in reading. Students who read a million words by the cut-off date, which was April 30, 2020, received a certificate of recognition and a medallion as schools celebrated creatively.

The hundreds of students that earned the acclaimed title of million-word reader collectively read nearly 2.1 billion words this school year. The following students ranked in the Top 10 among all students reaching a million words:

Million Word Readers 2020 Top 10:
1st – Aubree Hearn – 6th grade – Gamewell Middle School – 14,005,104
2nd – Faith Smith – 8th grade – Gamewell Middle School – 10,407,852
3rd – Sierra Sanders – 8th grade – Gamewell Middle School – 5,939,933
4th – Katie Spears – 6th grade – Hudson Middle School – 5,495,847
5th – Addison Elliott – 6th grade – William Lenoir Middle School – 5,188,990
6th – Layla Isbell – 8th grade – William Lenoir Middle School – 5,018,796
7th – Olivia West – 7th grade – Granite Falls Middle School – 4,856,583
8th – Emily Kooiker – 8th grade – Granite Falls Middle School – 4,457,233
9th – Elizabeth Castro Yax – 6th grade – Granite Falls Middle School – 4,342,257
10th – Zaylie Peterson – 7th grade – Gamewell Middle School – 4,084,803

Highest scoring elementary student (and 13th overall in the county)- Dawson Libera – 3rd grade – Lower Creek Elementary – 3,819,500 (tested on 159 books)

Even though students were not able to participate in the districtwide 7th Annual Million Word recognition event, they reaped all the intrinsic benefits of reading a million words or more.