Unbound 2019

Dear Teachers and Students,

Thank you so much for participating in this year's Unbound readathon. We had a lot of great weekly challenges Book Selfies, Book Picture Contest, Book Reviews, and Bulletin Board Contest. Our goal was to read as many books as possible as a part of our fifth year anniversary of Unbound. Congratulations! You read 6,429 books! I know that number doesn't even cover the students who lost their tally sheet, or the ones who had their sheet thrown away! Just by participating in Unbound, you are showing your students the value of literacy. Thank you for all the work that you do to turn in those weekly tally sheets, to convince your school to participate, and to get books in the hands of your students! We will contact you soon regarding any outstanding prizes. Congratulations to all the teachers and students who participated in Unbound!


Unbound Students Read 6,429 Books!!!

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1st Place: Protagonist

McLaughlin (Alaska)- Total: 1,837

1st Place: Antagonist

Juniper Hills HS Nampa (Idaho)- Total: 2,274

Team Winner!

Congratulations to Protagonist

Click here to download your certificate.

1st place: Protagonist Average Points: 1,064

2nd place: Antagonist Average Points: 989

Most Inspired Award

Gold Medals

B. C. (Virginia): BC had a mind-opening experience while reading a book with a gay character. He had previously started and then abandoned a book that had a main character who was gay; when he talked about it he said that homosexuality made him uncomfortable and that he didn't really like gay people. While this was a troubling conversation for me, I accepted that it wasn't the book for him and helped him find a book that would be more enjoyable for him to read. Later, when telling me about a mystery book that he really enjoyed, he ran down the list of characters and their attributes. When he mentioned that a specific character was gay, I was surprised he finished the book and asked if it made him uncomfortable. He said no, and explained that there was another character in the book that he related to and who accepted the gay character. He told me that seeing a gay character through his character's eyes and seeing the acceptance allowed him to think differently about gay people. He said the book really did change his mind! How powerful! I'm glad he was able to have this reading experience and reach a new understanding of people who are different from him.

"J. E." (Maryland): J.E. is an ELL student who is studying for his G.E.D., missing his 2 daughters, mastering his proficiency in English and avidly reading Percy Jackson series while never missing to fist-bump me and my co-teacher as a greeting. He is reading English and Spanish versions of the books, simultaneously reflecting in writing, on his reading journey and asks to see the accompanying movies. Watching J.E. participate in Unbound 2019 is like looking for the ice cream truck on a hot summer day, ( you know all parties will walk away satisfied) He always shares some of his comments about reading( a treat), gives a request for the next book in the sequel,(treat transaction) book talks as he comes in and leaves to (anyone who in his vicinity) and takes the book marks as receipt of the reading experience . His language duality has enhanced the experience and been a recruitment bonus for other ELL students. J.E. has inspired us this Unbound season while being the most inspired student He has been a joy.

"K. H." (Missouri): K.H. struggles with reading, but he has figured out how to cope with his learning disability by quietly reading out loud to himself. He was definitely the most invested youth in Unbound. He took his minutes seriously, and he was always looking for an appropriate opportunity to read. K.H. always wanted to talk with staff about how "good" or "crazy" his book was getting. He is also one of the few kids in the building that has an interest in many different book genre's. K.H. always talks in amazement about how much he actually likes reading now, considering he never read while he was at home. He has read most of the books in our library, so his peers are always looking to him for the best book recommendations.

Silver Medal

B. S. (Missouri)

"M" (Massachusetts)

Bronze Medal

W. M. (Alaska)

"A. S." (Pennsylvania)

Above and Beyond Teacher Award

Teacher: Jennifer Young

School Name: Virgie Binford Education Center

State: Virginia

I couldn't be more excited to write about our Unbound Above and Beyond Teacher Award winner, Jennifer Young. Her team increased their score each week and came in second place on the winning team! One of her students has an incredible change of heart based on her guidance and the power of reading. We are incredibly impressed with her ability to manage Unbound in a very large school. Congratulations!

Weekly Challenges

Week One: Book Picture Winners

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Week Two: Bulletin Boards

1st place: Charles Britt Academy

2nd place: Hillsborough Girls Academy

3rd place: Sierra Osage Treatment Center

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Week Three: Published Book Reviews

D’Angelo B - Pinellas County JDC

Sierra B - McLaughlin

Precious D - Hillsborough Girls Academy

Brendan H - Wilson Creek Group Home

Nathan K - Wilson Creek Group Home

Josiah L - McLaughlin

Carley M - Hillsborough Girls Academy

Chris M - New Madrid Youth Center

David M - Cuyahoga Hills JCF

William M - McLaughlin

Ny P - Virgie Winford Education Center

Patience S - Pinellas County JDC

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Thank you, Christina, for reading all the book reviews and publishing them! You ROCK!

Week Four: Book Selfies Winners!

~New Day Day Treatment

~New Madrid Bend Youth Center

~Virgie Binford Education Center

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Weekly Podcast Trivia Winners

Week One: Westfield Revocation: Book Movie Party

Week Two: New Madrid Bend Youth Center: Book Movie Party

Week Three: Cuyahoga Hills JCF: Book Movie Party

Quotes from Unbound Teachers

The students enjoyed reading the books that Scholastics provided. They are a nice addition to our library. This program has gotten more of our students reading. We hope to keep the ball rolling with enthusiastic readers.

-Debbie Smith, Waverly Regional Youth Center

As always I was so excited to be a part of the Unbound Read-A-Thon. I love reading & look forward to seeing my boys get lost in books. Even with things being hectic and busy around the facility, the boys still found time to read. I love they are finding a passion for reading and seeing it is a place for them to escape.

-Stacey Thrasher, Riverbend Treatment Center

Our students thoroughly enjoyed participating in Unbound.
Teachers enjoyed seeing the enthusiasm to read sparked by competition.

-Dana Buckner, Southeast Center School

Thank you so much for running the Readathon. Our students really enjoyed reading and competing. We had our big Readathon celebration today. The students liked looking through the other students' book selfies. Thanks again.

James Hill, CAPE School-Jail

Great Contest! Loved the addition of the extra contests if you turned it in on time!

-Amanda Miller, Owensboro Day Treatment

Thank you, Scholastic!!!

A huge thank you to Scholastic for your very generous donation of books for Unbound schools. We really appreciate everything you do to make this initiative possible each and every year.

Check Out Our Next Initiative!

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Words Unlocked 2018

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 transcendence. Transcendence is the existence or experience beyond the normal or physical level, beyond our circumstance. The power of the human spirit to transcend and be oneself in the face of things happening around and even to us is nothing short of magical. Through Words Unlocked we hope to encourage young people held in locked facilities to voice their truths about the ways their circumstances contribute to yet do not solely define who they are.

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 2019 on Monday, April 1st.

Far too many young people are locked up around the country. Through this initiative, we continue to ensure that their words are not.