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Gatlinburg-Pittman Junior High School library wins global contest

Gatlinburg-Pittman Junior High School won the grand prize in a global contest called School Stars.
Published: May. 3, 2021 at 6:01 PM EDT
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GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WVLT) - Gatlinburg-Pittman Junior High School won the grand prize in a global contest called School Stars.

It’s all thanks to a campaign started by the librarians. In March they ran a March Madness reading competition kicking off a new reading app called Sora. It’s a virtual library for students to check out books to read on any phone, iPad or computer.

They created a video with the help of librarian Sally Helton’s son John Tate, who’s a student at Gatlinburg-Pittman High School.

“I had a lot of fun just sitting down and brainstorming ideas about the best way I could really promote Sora would be,” said Tate.

The app has captured eighth grade student Jeet Patel’s heart and mind.

“I just fell in love with Sora; it’s just so good.”

Patel won the March Madness reading competition in the school, earning him some Apple gift cards and improved skillset. “I feel like I got faster at reading,” said Patel.

The school won $2,500 in e-book credits for winning the Grand Prize award and launching a successful campaign getting students, like Patel, to read.

“We were pretty confident,” Sally Helton, a librarian said.

Sora keeps track of how much time students spend reading and gives them the ability to choose what they read.

“I think that can be pretty motivational for a kid,” said Helton.

“When they’re on Sora it’s just them and they can check out what interests them without being judged about what they like to read,” said Terri Soehn, assistant librarian.

Students read almost 600 hours in Sora during the month of March.

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