Academy at Nola Dunn Students Place 3rd in National Reading Contest

Students competed against 22,000 students in Great Reading Games

BURLESON, Texas (March 29, 2018) – Students at the Academy at Nola Dunn in Burleson  Independent School District (BISD) placed 3rd in the Great Reading Games, a national reading competition hosted by Learning Ally. Forty Academy at Nola Dunn students competed against 22,000 students from 1,210 schools and districts across the country to be named third in the nation.

The Academy at Nola Dunn students, Principal Lindsey Byrd and dyslexia teacher Dana Blackaby, in addition to BISD Assistive Technology Team Lead Tonya Harden, were recognized by Learning Ally at an awards assembly on March 29. Students received prizes, including Chromebooks, headphones, student prize packs and a gift card for a party.

“Placing third in the nation is a phenomenal achievement for our students, and a reflection of the drive and hard work these students put into reading,” said Dr. Bret Jimerson, BISD Superintendent.

The Great Reading Games is a reading engagement competition. It is designed to motivate struggling and non-readers, such as those with dyslexia or a visual impairment to read for more than 20 minutes each day. As students read and learn through human-read audiobooks, they get excited about reading and begin to improve their reading comprehension, fluency, critical thinking and vocabulary skills to become more confident learners.

Combined, students read 134,434 pages in seven weeks through audiobooks. Students read textbooks, non-fiction or literature, and downloaded the books directly to their tablets, computers, smartphones, Chromebooks and other devices.

“As we can see by the total number of pages read, our students connected with their stories and went to great lengths to read as much as possible,” Dr. Lucretia Gartrell, BISD Executive Director of Special Services said. “BISD’s 1:1 technology made it possible, as students were able to read on their Chromebooks before and after school, and at home.”

“Educators and schools involved in the Learning Ally Great Reading Games are true champions for students and readers across the country,” said Terrie Noland, Learning Ally National Director of Educator Engagement. “Because they ensure  all readers have access to grade-level books and helping struggling readers to love books in the process, they build a positive culture of reading transforming students into confident, lifelong learners who can succeed in the workforce and in society.”


Burleson Independent School District serves more than 12,200 students at 17 schools, and is recognized as a premier school district in the Dallas/Fort Worth-area. The mission of Burleson Independent School District is to engage and support every learner with a rigorous curriculum so that they graduate college and career ready.


Founded in 1948, Learning Ally supports K-12, college and graduate students, veterans and lifelong learners – all of whom read and learn differently due to dyslexia, blindness or visual impairment, and other disabilities. Through its extensive community events and support programs, Learning Ally enables parents, teachers and specialists to help students thrive and succeed. The organization hosts live and virtual events for families and teachers; provides instructive webinars led by experts as well as peer-to-peer sessions led by students; and professional development workshops for educators.

Learning Ally’s collection of over 80,000 human-read audio textbooks and literature titles can be downloaded by students using their smartphones and tablets, and is the largest of its kind in the world. As a 501(c)3 nonprofit, Learning Ally is partially funded by grants from state and local education programs, and the generous contributions of individuals, foundations and corporations. For more information, visit


Mikala Hill or Katelyn Tyler, Burleson ISD Communications, 817-245-1131