Excel Award winner makes Highland Hills Middle a school of readers

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by Gary Roedemeier

WHAS11.com

Posted on May 16, 2012 at 5:53 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 16 at 6:03 PM

FLOYD COUNTY, Ind. (WHAS11) -- The newest winner of the WHAS Excel Award is a missionary for books and she spreads the good news about reading at the Highland Hills Middle School in the New Albany, Floyd County School system.

Carla Thomas admits that she's something of a book freak. She may read up to five books over a weekend. And she instills that love of literature as a reading specialist in Floyd County.

It was appropriate that Thomas was honored in the school library, surrounded by books and her students. She brings the two together. The students are many times reluctant readers and her challenge is to find the right book for the right kid.

Every year she has students that walk into her classroom and say "I hate to read." But she loves the challenge and says she can find a book for everyone.

As a student herself, Thomas was insecure and found a refuge in reading. Now she hopes to change young lives with the love of reading.

The Excel Award brings a $1,000 teacher grant from LG&E, KU. Thomas says she will use the money to buy Kindle readers for her students.

The money provides a financial boost for her classroom that concentrates of improving the reading skills of remedial students. Thomas says that once her students see improvement in their reading skills, they are surprised that they like reading.

Highland Hills principal Steve Griffin says students leave Thomas' class with a new level of confidence. He says that this Excel teacher does change lives and that she has made Highland Hills a school for readers.

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