Unbound 2017

Dear Teachers and Students,

Thank you so much for participating in this year's Unbound readathon. We tried a lot of new things this year: picture contest, teams, podcasts, trivia, and live drawings. 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!


1st Place WINNERS!

War and Peace

CAPE Detention (Arizona)- Total: 1538

The Call of the Wild

Okeechobee Girls Academy: Cypress School (Florida)- Total: 2071

Great Expectations

Riverbend Treatment Center (Missouri)- Total: 1796

Catch 22

McLaughlin Youth Detention Center (Alaska)- Total: 1380

Team Winner!

Congratulations to The Call of the Wild Team!

1st place: The Call of the Wild Total Points: 13,694

2nd place: Catch 22 Total Points: 11,943

3rd place: Great Expectations Total Points: 11,402

4th place: War and Peace Total Points: 9,956

Large School Award

Wyoming Boys' School

The Wyoming Boys' School is the winner of the Large School Award. Each of their 60 participants will receive a t-shirt. Congratulations!

Most Inspired Award

1st Place

Bobby (CES- Gandara Alternative Options) : Bobby had never read a book before this contest. He read The Gun and submitted a book review. He then continued to read. He enjoyed graphic novels and books by James Dashner. He read magazines about sports and started reading in class. His reading has improved his grades in all his classes and he is being nominated as Student of the Week, because his focus and behavior has improved because he no longer hates reading. Great choices by Bobby. Great opportunities by Unbound!

Brittany (Cypress School):

Brittany has been at the Okeechobee Girls Academy for quite some time. She is a quiet young lady who has been taking a long time to blossom. She has struggled in school since her arrival-refusing assistance and reluctant to make mistakes. You see she comes from a family that told her it was not okay to make mistakes and that she would never amount to anything, over and over again. In the end, she came to believe them and began the self-fulfilling prophecy of living up to their expectations of her failing. It was easier for Brittany to just fail a class vs. doing something and getting a bad mark. Over the last month, Brittany never turned in any reading time. However, I was aware that Brittany had begun to open up, taking more chances to learn and completing more work than ever in school during the last month. I have been very proud of Brittany's growth. But I never expected what happened yesterday.... Brittany turned a wonderfully written book review without ever taking a minute of credit for reading it! (If I wasn't seated, I probably would have fallen over.) She checked the book out twice in the last month so I knew she read the book completely, beyond the fact, I read the book before her myself. I am so, so, so proud of Brittany for stepping out of her comfort zone and writing her book review to be submitted. I am still overflowing with warm, happy, fuzzy feelings. Regardless of the accomplishments of my dynamic dozen reading crew, Brittany's book review is the greatest accomplishment of this Read-a-Thon. Mad props for Brittany!! You go girl! What a beautiful flower you are going to be!

Temadji (Harvard House): Temadji is the youngest student who is a refugee from Nigeria Africa 2010. This student primary language (Dialect) Kaba, he exhibits a passion to learn. Temajdi works dilligently on every task and embraced the Unbound Read a thon. even though struggles at times with understanding the English Language. Temadji found an interest with the author Walter Dean Myers and finished Slam and Sunrise over Fallujah and is reading Monster. Temadji inspired several students to read Walter Dean Myers Slam. Temadji never gives up he carries his dictionary with him independently looking up words that he does not understand before he asks a teacher or staff for clarification, this "Habit" has inspired other students to follow. Temadji would value and treasure recieving recognition for being "Most Inspired Award"

Ethan (Riverbend Treatment Center): It was so inspiring to watch this young man throughout this Read-A-thon. Every time I was around him, he was reading. He always did what was asked of him first and then he dived right back in to whatever book he was reading. Ethan read a total of 32 books during The Unbound Read-A-Thon. Seeing his love for reading was absolutely amazing. He even focused on getting other kids in his group to start reading just by talking about all the books he had read & that he really thinks they would like it. I am so very proud of this young man!!! Reading to him was a way to cope with issues he was dealing with; a way for him to escape... to him it was always a new adventure!!

2nd Place

Albert (McLaughlin)

Darnell (Alfred D. Noyes)

Michael (Pinehill High School)

Mikaila (Owensboro Day Treatment)

Honorable Mentions


Devin (Hermitage House)

Dante (Our House)

Angel (MPTU)

Bryan (Stewart Marchman)

Skyler (Dixie Area Detention)

Miguel (McLaughlin)

Above and Beyond Teacher Award

Teacher: Hope Sheppard

School Name: Cypress School

State: Florida

I couldn't be more excited to write about our Unbound Above and Beyond Teacher Award winner, Hope Sheppard. Hope is the Lead Teacher at the Cypress School in Okeechobee, Florida. Hope has been participating in Unbound for the past three years. The first year she participated she received 7th place, the second year she received 30th place, and this year...she took 1st place on the winning team! I am beyond proud of Hope!

I am impressed by the power of a few avid readers and what they are accomplishing. I am proud of them. Next challenge, to get them to put the same effort into school. And then my fellow administrators are wondering why there are so many books on the dorm! They are sneaking them out of the library! Literally! -Hope Sheppard, Florida

Weekly Trivia Winners

Week One: Mat-Su Secondary- Book Series

Week Two: Delmina Woods- Pizza Party

Week Three: Winsor Academy- 100 Points for Catch 22

Week Four: Eckerd Youth Challenge Academy- Book Series

Unbound Photo Contest

1st Place: Foothill High School- Southwest Utah YC

2nd Place: Owensboro Treatment Center, KY

3rd Place: Wyoming Boys' School, WY

4th Place: Travis Hills School, NOLA

Check out this creative picture!!

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Published Book Review Winners

Makayla H., Owensboro, Family Ties

Krislon T., Owensboro, The Summer I Turned Pretty

Seth, Mat-Su, Cryptid Hunters

Bobby G., Maya, Cartel 3

Troy C., Maya, Midnight

Wyatt W., Naselle, Trapped

David S., Naselle, The Boundless

Treyvon H., Naselle, Life and Death

Shyloe H., CES-Gandara, Outrunning the Darkness

Damien D., Shuman, Hunger Games

K.P., McLaughlin, Tyrell

Jacob J., Naselle, The Longest Ride

Hannah H., Owensboro, The Cuckoo Clock of Doom

Alexis J., Owensboro, Princess in Pink

Teeana, Mat-Su, Out of My Mind

Hadlee P., Delmina Woods, Saving Beauty from Beast

Madison C., Owensboro, The Outsiders

S.A., McLaughlin, The Giver

C.V., McLaughlin, Eye of God

Edgar G., Genesis YC, Tyrell

Jaydin G., Genesis YC, The Tequila Worm

Nile P., McLaughlin, Crush

Kaila R., Breathitt Regional, Hillbilly Elegy

Sam B., Owensboro, Things Left Unsaid

Skyler T., Springfield Res, Game of Thrones

Jason B., Springfield Res., The Client

Anthony A., Naselle, Water for Elephant

Joshua S., CAPE, Big Bad Wolf

Daniel W., CAPE, Tweak

Richard F., CAPE, Impulse

Jamie B., West Kearny, Mistborn

Carlye M., Cypress, Percy Jackson: Battle of the Labyrinth

Destiny L., Cypress, No Choirboy

Randell K., Eckerd, The Battle of the Labyrinth

Angel R., Eckerd, Orphan

Dylan T., Eckerd, Writing My Wrongs

Kourtney W., Delmina Woods, Go Ask Alice

Khrysta P., CAPE, Forged By Fire


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

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Quotes from Unbound Teachers

My kids absolutely loved being a part of The Unbound Read-A-Thon. I love watching my kids grow as readers and find a way to escape the craziness of their days... get lost in a new world & find different ways to cope with issues they are dealing with. I've seen kids who love to read push themselves to read even more... & I have seen kids who were not really into reading pick up a book & then another!!

-Stacey Thrasher, Missouri

Thank you, Ms. Kat Crawford for running the Unbound Readathon. Our students really enjoyed taking part. They loved receiving the new books and read them almost exclusively. We already celebrated the end of the readathon today with a pizza party that included music (and music videos), conversation and guessing the answers to week 4 trivia (earning Snickers for the correct answers). Thanks again, we had a blast. -James Hill, Arizona

Wow! Our school has read 264 books this month. We only have 20-25 students. I am super proud of how much they've read this month.

-Kendra Hendrix, Kentucky

This was a good month for the students and me. Unbound supplied the books and space for us to talk about and read books in a way that is like school on the outside. This month's literary dynamic , supported by Unbound, included moments of humor, criticism and affection for reading and books that was intimate and at times, free. It was a refreshing thing for all of us. Thanks! -Robin Wells-Hicks, Maryland

My students really have been reading any and all James Patterson books, especially Alex Cross series. I had 2 students who had read some before and with the Unbound Contest it helped them convince their peers to try the books themselves. The other students have been commenting that they never knew they could like reading and that there were good books like this. Many also said we should teach these books in schools instead of the boring stuff they have to read. -Brian Barrett, Massachusetts

Check Out Our Next Initiative!

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Words Unlocked 2017

In the spirit of National Poetry Month (April), and in an effort to encourage literary exploration by young people held in locked juvenile facilities, we are proud to announce that we will be running our month-long poetry writing initiative and competition, Words Unlocked, again this year.

Our theme for 2017 is Authenticity. Authenticity is commonly referred to as "being real" and being truly authentic requires a genuine sharing of our inner selves, irrespective of the consequences. Very often, our actions in a given moment do not always reflect our authentic selves in that we alter or mitigate our behavior to avoid certain consequences.

Being inauthentic can constrain our growth and self-esteem, while being authentic requires us to care enough to ensure that our words and actions reflect our intention. Through Words Unlocked we hope to encourage young people held in locked facilities to explore this theme and voice their truths about authenticity.

All materials for Words Unlocked 2017 will be available at our Words Unlocked website beginning on Monday, March 6th. The website will house a robust set of tools available for public use: daily lesson plans and teacher-ready classroom materials. Please share this information with anyone and everyone you know who might help get these materials to teachers working with incarcerated youth. We hope to have thousands of students participating starting on April 3rd.

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