CHINA GROVE, N.C. — PACE Research shows the pandemic set many students behind when it comes to literacy. 

As other students work to catch up here in North Carolina, one China Grove middle schooler is reaching international literacy records. 

What You Need To Know

  • November is National Family Literacy Month, where organizations encourage families to sit down with their kids of all ages and read

  • As many students are still adjusting to being back in school, one China Grove student is excelling

  • Mason Barnes, China Grove eighth-grader, reached international recognition for literacy

Mason Barnes is a normal eighth-grader. He still has his options open for his future, and he wants to be a police officer or basketball coach. 

But for now, Barnes says his favorite things are Minecraft and talking with his friends.

While national studies show many students fell behind during the pandemic as they learned from home, Barnes excelled and achieved. 

Barnes was named number one internationally in literacy for Achieve3000, a program that focuses on “building phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, reading comprehension, vocabulary, and writing skills.”  

“I was the number one on Achieve like twice, and I was number one in North Carolina too. And I was number one in North Carolina. Oh, and worldwide,” Barnes said. 

He says his love for English language arts made the achievement easier.

“I'm pretty good at ELA and she gives off really good vibes,” Barnes said about his teacher Ms. Kraft.

While he isn’t so confident in saying it himself, he says he's lucky Kraft has his back. 

“She knows I can do it, she boosts my confidence to do Achieve articles,” Barnes said. 

As students continue to adjust to the “new normal,” Barnes reminds other students to keep literacy at the forefront of their education.

“If you achieve that, then you can possibly be that in your life,” Barnes said.