I thought the concept of a competition was to get gets to kids to, I don’t know,…compete? Was I wrong about that? I entered plenty of reading contests when I was in school, sometimes sponsored by the school library and sometimes by the city library. Yes, I did win one or two of them.
See, when I was in elementary school I had my own library card and I would go in, check out as many books as I could, then show up 2 weeks later with a sack of finished books to turn back in. The librarians loved me. They encouraged me to read, they didn’t tell me that I was ruining everyone else’s self esteem by reading so many books.
But Tyler Weaver, a 5th grader, reads 63 books in 6 weeks and suddenly he’s “hogging” the contest and making other kids feel bad? What the hell is the world coming too?
The 9-year-old boy, who will be starting fifth grade next month, won the six-week-long “Dig into Reading” event by completing 63 books from June 24 to Aug. 3, averaging more than 10 a week.
He has consistently been the top reader since kindergarten, devouring a total of 373 books over the five contests, according to his mother, Katie.
“It feels great,” said Tyler, an intermediate scholar student at Hudson Falls School. “I think that was actually a record-breaking streak.”
His younger brother, Jonathan, 7, won second place two years in a row now, completing more than 40 books this time.
Prizes were also awarded for the top reader in the kindergarten division, best rock people creations and best coloring entries.
Katie said she is “extremely proud” of her sons’ accomplishments, especially Tyler for having held his title for this long.
“I’ve told them God makes all of us different. There are some things that are hard and some that are easy, but they should excel at what they enjoy doing and Tyler just loves to read,” she said. “Everybody he tells, he gets high-fives. Everybody’s so proud of him.”
Everybody, it seems, but Gandron, who was surprised to learn Katie notified a Post-Star reporter about her son being a longtime winner. During a phone call Tuesday to Gandron, the library director said Tyler “hogs” the contest every year and he should “step aside.”
“Other kids quit because they can’t keep up,” Gandron said.
God forbid that a child should be a voracious reader.
God forbid that a child should be a good reader and actually dedicated to reading.
In what world does a library director think it’s a good policy to get upset that a kid likes to read and blame him for other kids not performing well? Maybe instead she should encourage other kids to read all year, the way Tyler and his brother do, so that they can win the contest. Tyler and Jonathan don’t stop reading after the 6 week contest ends as one of the library aides mentions.
[Lita] Casey established a special relationship with the Weaver boys, who call her “Gram,” because they are frequent visitors to the library. She said between the two brothers, they have borrowed 1,000 books in the past few years.
As a testament to Tyler’s love of reading, Casey said that a few years ago, the summer theme centered on regions of the United States. Kids were supposed to read a book on each section of the country. A few children dropped out of the program because they didn’t like the subject matter, Casey said, but Tyler read at least one book on each of the 50 states.
But apparently dedication and love of learning means nothing if other kids “feel bad” about how they do in the contest. The point of the contest clearly isn’t to encourage reading then I guess?
What is with this horrific need to coddle children forever? They sign up for a contest, but they don’t win.
That’s not fair!
What’s next? Why should they have to read a minimum of 10 books to get to attend the part at the end of the contest? That’s not very nice. Anyone who signs up should get to attend, even if they don’t read anything.
That’s the only way to be fair!
Lita Casey has it figured out.
“My feeling is you work, you get it. That’s just the way it is in anything. My granddaughter started working on track in grade school and ended up being a national champ. Should she have backed off and said, ‘No, somebody else should win?’…”
Too bad the rest of the world has gone insane.
Once upon a time, contests were decided on who actually fulfilled the requirements.
Did I feel bad when I lost a reading contest?
Maybe for a little bit, but next time I just tried harder.
“You’ve been lead in too many school plays. You’ve been star quarterback too long. You’ve been top of the class for too many semesters. It’s time to stop hogging the spotlight and let someone else succeed!”
Right, because I should just stop doing my best, because of the hurt feelings of some other kid?
Not going to happen.
If everything is just a crapshoot and winning is based on a random drawing or flip of a coin, then why should anyone try to excel ever again?
Imagine if, in the name of fairness, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, or Henry Ford had been told to the were “hogging” the spotlight and they needed to “step aside”?
Sorry fairness, screw you, I kind of like my bifocals, electric lights, and automobiles.