CONYERS — The United States Department of Education has been focusing on accelerated reading since 1984. Research shows that difficulty in reading is such a barrier between student and success that it is one of the root causes of youth ending up with incarceration in the juvenile justice system.

As a first step, a student registers themselves and after every book they read they get a chance to take a comprehension quiz to earn points based on number of correct responses, their reading level and word count of the book. Many of the school systems in Georgia have adopted this program and teachers are using this to judge the progress of their young readers.

Peachtree Academy, with campuses in Newton and Rockdale counties, understands the importance of this fundamental need of better society. They have adopted this program as part of their curriculum and kids are encouraged to read as early as Pre K. Each year’s students are encouraged to read and an award is given to the best reader. All the elementary school students are part of this race and try their best to get the honor of reading the most words and scoring the most points in a school year.

Maha Ahmad of Conyers was encouraged by her kindergarten teacher, Ms. Upton, in such a way that she made reading her passion. Starting in the first grade, she read the most words in entire elementary school.

Taha Ahmad, her younger brother, challenged her as he started reading and was runner-up until last year. This year was the last school year for him to compete with her in reading as Maha moves up to middle school.

A third grader competing with a fifth grader was not an easy task, but continuous effort made it possible. In the 2019 school year, he read 153 books with a word count of almost 4.5 million, with comprehension at 97.2 %. He has set the bars high for himself and others for the next school year.

Their father, Muddessar Ahmad, said he is a proud parent of both of them.

“I would like to thank Peachtree Academy and the teachers for motivating both my children and hope they always stay on top in every endeavor of their life,” he said. “Hard work and continuous effort are the only ways to success.”

Ahmad also gave credit to his wife Qudsia Ahmad for keeping them all straight.

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Senior Reporter

I've worked in community newspapers for 30 years, including Editor of the Jackson Progress-Argus from 1993-1999. Started at Rockdale Citizen/Newton Citizen in January 2016. Started as Senior Reporter at the Jackson Progress-Argus in December 2019.

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