Thank you so much for participating in this year's Unbound readathon. We tried a lot of new things this year: Book Selfies, Flipgrid Book Readings, Book BINGO, and Bulletin Board Contest. Our goal was to build connections with teams across the United States and make Unbound more interactive. We could not have done that without amazing teachers who were willing to take risks. This year was a lot of fun! Below you will find all the Unbound recognitions. We will contact you soon regarding prizes. Congratulations to all the teachers and students who participated in Unbound!
Unbound Students Read 5,123 Books!!!
Click here to download your certificate.
1st place: Children's Book Average Points: 1,062
2nd place: Graphic Novels and Comic Books AAverage Points: 715
3rd place: Biographies Average Points: 567
4th place: Science Fiction and Thrillers Average Points: 497
Most Inspired Award
I. R. (Golden Heart Academy): Before spending time in our facility, I. R. didn't read books. He came just as the Unbound program was starting. After one week, he wound up on discipline and had a lot of time to read. He told me he had never read a book before on his own. He started with Hunger Games and finished the whole series. Then he moved onto Harry Potter. Watching him develop as a reader has been amazing. This past week he brought a small paperback dictionary to class. All the reading has made him want to improve his vocabulary.
"L" (Massachusetts): "L" arrived halfway through the first week of the challenge. When I described the challenge he said he already had a book in mind that he would like to read and began reading right away. Near the end of the school day on the day the book opening photo was due, we still had no plan. “L” created the idea for our book opening photo during our last period class. He created the concept, which was two groups of students playing tug of war for books and knowledge. He also created the quote that was displayed in the background, "Knowledge: Fighting is good when you are fighting for the right things." During the reading challenge, he finished two books (Dear Martin and Midnight) and is halfway through a third. He read consistently although we were on school break for a week. At the end of the challenge, "L" read for a total of 750 minutes! He did an awesome job!
"R" (Massachusetts): I have known student "R" for a year. When we introduced UNBOUND, he was on board despite reading not being his favorite subject. "R" loves friendly and academic competitions like Jeopardy. When we introduced UNBOUND, he was on board. He is one of two students that consistently read during the entire readathon event. Every week he looked forward to hearing updates about the podcasts and the weekly quizzes. He has written a book review and completed a bingo sheet. When we asked "R" on how he felt about UNBOUND, he proudly exclaimed that he has found a new passion for reading. When other students are hesitant to join, he would give them a motivational speech and would share that he started out like them but that he gave reading a try and ended up loving it. he has read a total of 6 books this month.
T. S. (Riverbend Treatment Center)
S. T. (Arkansas Juvenile Assessment and Treatment Center)
Above and Beyond Teacher Award
Teacher: Stacey Thrasher
School Name: Riverbend Treatment Center
I couldn't be more excited to write about our Unbound Above and Beyond Teacher Award winner, Stacey Thrasher. Stacey is the Academic Teacher/HiSET in Saint Joseph, Missouri. Stacey has been participating in Unbound for the past four years and her team has been undefeated for the past four years! I am beyond proud of Stacey! She is so incredibly deserving of this award. In fact, her work is so impressive that another teacher at her facility hacked into her email just to find my email so she could send me the email below.
Stacey does an amazing job here with our boys in all aspects of their education, but what she does with them through reading is amazing. She looks forward to this Read-A-Thon every year, and she gets the boys just as excited. Our library has grown so much in the past 4-5 years because of her passion for this job and her passion for reading. She has the kids keep a wish list of books they want to read or think others would enjoy and she packs that library full of books. She does a great job of instilling this passion into the boys. She teaches them and shows them that reading doesn’t have to be boring and they don’t have to feel like it’s punishment, but more of an adventure. She has taught them and continues to teach them what reading can do for you in so many different aspects of your life. She shows them how it can be your escape from the craziness of the world and how you can sink yourself into a good book and it can help you to alleviate those stresses that are weighing on your mind. Stacey has also shown them through her own personal stories of how reading can change you as a person, change how you see things, how you deal with things and can help you to want to be a better person.
I love watching her talk to the kids about the books they are reading. Asking them Questions, recommending books to them (even to get them out of their comfort zone) & they recommend books to her. It's incredible to watch. I do a lot of the testing around here, even just with what she does with them, I see their scores rise. Stacey just doesn’t focus on reading during the month of February for the Read-A-Thon but continues the reading program throughout the entire year. She does different activities, competitions, or fun programs. She has a cabinet in her office full of prizes the kids can win for reading. She sets it up the program like a store where they have to have so many points in order to get a prize. She hides tickets in books that she really thinks are great reads and thinks that the kids would really enjoy them…. And if they find the “Golden Reading Ticket” they get something special.
Week One: Bulletin Boards
~Arkansas Juvenile Assessment and TC
~Trask River High School
Week Two: Book Selfies
~Golden Heart Academy
Week Three: Published Book Reviews
~A. A., CAPE Detention
~ A. Q., CAPE Detention
~ J. M., Stewart Treatment
~A. S., Hermitage House Youth Services, Inc.
~ J. G., North Dakota Youth Correctional Center
~R. H., DAART
~C. K., Golden Heart Academy
~C. L., Golden Heart Academy
~S. G., Golden Heart Academy
~I. F., Cypress School
~C. D., McLaughlin
~R. S., McLaughlin
Week Four: Book BINGO Winners
~C. (Wilson Creek)
Quotes from Unbound Teachers
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to take part in this competition. It really sparked my students to read. It was a great diversion for them and let them put their energy into a positive place. It also gave them an opportunity to find success and feel proud of their achievements. There was so much more that came out of this that was positive that I am not able to mention here. Thank you for all your effort and support.
-Terry Groce, Trask River
I've been surprised at how involved my students got in the program. This is the first time I've done it (it's only my second year in the facility). I wasn't sure how they'd respond. I've been so happy with the energy it brought to the school. I'm really looking forward to participating in future programs.
-Nicole O'Donnell, Fairbanks
Many of the students struggle with reading text, comprehension, and attention span but when characters are real and interesting and relatable they are pulled in and are willing to engage text with a deepening sense of interest and willingness to grapple with the text for understanding.
-Alivia Clark, Shuman Detention Center
Sharyn Chamberlain, NFI Lakeside Detention
The students loved the competition and on the last day, the program had a contest to try to get back into first when we saw how close we were. Even though we fell just short of our goal of 2225 minutes per student, the kids loved it and the program gave them a party anyways. We had several students who had never finished a book before, finish books for the first time.
Unbound was a success again as it always is.
-Brian Barrett, Springfield Residential Treatment
Check Out Our Next Initiative!
Words Unlocked 2018
"You've got to keep asserting the complexity and the originality of life, and the multiplicity of it, and the facets of it. This is about being a complex human being in the world, not about finding a villain. This is no time for anything else than the best that you've got.”
In the spirit of National Poetry Month and in a continuing effort to encourage literary exploration by young people held in locked facilities, we are proud to announce that we will again be running our month-long poetry writing initiative and competition, Words Unlocked!
This year's theme is Multiformity! Multiformity is the quality of existing in many different forms and speaks to the complexity of human being. We exist through the eyes of ourselves and others - as sons, daughters, inmates, scholars, friends, artists, detainees, fathers, mothers, and much more. Through Words Unlocked we hope to encourage young people held in locked facilities to voice their truths about being shaped along the way and seeking harmony in multiformity.
All materials for the initiative are available at our Words Unlocked website, which will house a robust set of tools available for public use: daily lesson plans and teacher-ready classroom materials. Check back often, as we will continue adding material! Please share the website with anyone who might help get these materials to teachers working with incarcerated youth. We hope to have thousands of students kicking off Words Unlocked 2018 on Monday, April 2nd.