The Oklahoma City Thunder has recognized the top participants in its annual Thunder Reading Challenge, presented by American Fidelity Assurance.


Grace Roden, a second-grader at Cleveland Bailey Elementary in Midwest City, emerged from the challenge as the top overall reader for all grades, logging 32,370 minutes of reading between November and April – nearly three hours of reading each day throughout the six-month period.


Orion Frazier, kindergartener at Kickapoo Community Child Care Center in McLoud; Jai’Lynn Surveyor, first-grader at Hawthorne Elementary in Oklahoma City; and Luccinda Locke, third-grader at Linwood Elementary in Oklahoma City, each were recognized as top readers for their grade levels.


The top readers for each grade level received Thunder prizes, including a team-autographed basketball, and a plaque, presented to them by Thunder staff. The top overall winner also receives a Rumble assembly for the school.


“This program gives us an opportunity to reach out and make an impact on the daily lives of kids across Oklahoma,” said Dan Mahoney, vice president of Community Relations for the Thunder. “We have so many young fans who are excited just to be part of a Thunder program, and the Reading Challenge channels that excitement to inspire them to read more.


“We greatly appreciate the hard work that all the teachers put in to carry out this program in their classrooms and their dedication to fostering good reading habits,” he added.


For the 2013-14 school year, 847 classrooms across the state took part in the Thunder Reading Challenge, with 19,585 students tracking the number of minutes they read. Every month, the Thunder awarded the top reader in each classroom with a Thunder-themed prize and a certificate.


In total, the students who took part in the Reading Challenge logged 217,923 hours – the equivalent of more than 9,000 days of reading.


The Reading Challenge has been a part of the Thunder Read to Achieve initiative since the 2009-10 school year. Teachers interested in taking part in the Reading Challenge are encouraged to monitor the team’s website, THUNDER.NBA.COM, for details starting in late August.