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Congratulations to Our 2018 Word UP Challenge Winners!

Reading Counts

Getting your students to read (and enjoy it!) can be a challenging task for you as a teacher. While some students are avid readers who can't wait to crack open a book during independent reading time or before bed, others are more reluctant. That's where HMH's annual Word UP Challenge comes into play.

We designed the contest to get students excited about reading, and it's open to schools currently using the HMH Reading Counts! program. Now, HMH is honoring the schools where students read the most words, either in literature or nonfiction books—whether at home, in school, or in any setting of their choice between September 4, 2018 and February 11, 2019. We calculated scores through Reading Counts!, our Lexile®-based independent reading program that tracks students’ success on the books they read.

Check out the list of the winning schools—and the MVPs, or runners-up—below. Winners get prizes including party certificates, visits from Curious George, a school plaque, a banner, and medals for students. The winners and MVPs below are divided into four contest categories based on student enrollment. Thank you to all the students for their hard work—and the educators who teach them each and every day!


CATEGORY A: 50–149 students in Reading Counts!

SchoolLocationWords Read
WINNER: Xavier Catholic SchoolLeavenworth, Kansas12,061,369 
MVP: Saeger Middle SchoolSt. Charles, Missouri9,799,356

Courtesy of Xavier Catholic School


CATEGORY B: 150–300 students in Reading Counts!

SchoolLocationWords Read
WINNER: St. Benedict Catholic SchoolAtchison, Kansas52,715,621
MVP: St. Matthew Cathedral SchoolSouth Bend, Indiana12,723,624

Courtesy of St. Benedict Catholic School


CATEGORY C: 301–500 students in Reading Counts!

SchoolLocationWords Read
WINNER: Sweeny Junior High SchoolSweeny, Texas106,771,790
MVP: Our Lady of Las VegasLas Vegas, Nevada64,933,389

Courtesy of Sweeny Junior High School


CATEGORY D: 500+ students in Reading Counts!

SchoolLocationWords Read
WINNER: Waynesville Middle SchoolWaynesville, North Carolina347,984,990
MVP: Robert L. Nickels Intermediate SchoolByron Center, Michigan279,185,156 

Courtesy of Waynesville Middle School


Learn more about HMH’s Reading Counts! independent reading program, and watch this website for announcements about next year's Word UP Challenge.

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