9 Year Old Reads 63 Books in 6 Weeks: Library Director Tells Him to Stop Being Mean to Other Kids; Calls Him a Hog

Lifes-Not-Fair1“Boo hoo! It’s not fair for the other kids that he reads so much!”

Basically.

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.

PostStar.com

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.

What’s next?

“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.

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34 Comments

  1. I HAVE A ABSOLUTELY TRUE STORY FOR YOU!
    Our local library (Edwardsville IL) was having a reading contest during the summer.
    The big prize was 4 tickets to a Cardinals baseball game.
    My home schooled 7 yr old daughter who was reading before she was 3 and who was allowed little TV went to the library almost every day for new books.
    When the contest ended she had read over 100 books
    (about 130 if I remember) And the 2nd place kid was not at 20.
    So the day of the awards come and the arrogant snooty library officials troop in and announce they have changed the rules and they will now hold a drawing for the prizes. My diligent little girl was understandably quite angry (as was I).

    Here is the lesson they taught all the kids:
    Work hard and you’re a fool – don’t hardly try and you’ll get rewarded for doing nothing.

    Fortunately we didn’t allow that lie to settle in.
    She recently graduated Magna cum Laud with dual majors (Econ & Hist).
    She is current at the Olympic Training Center with her little sister training for her 2016 Games. (See them here: http://www.gravesjudo.com)

  2. Well done, and he should keep reading. At the same time, you’ll find several Emmy/Best Musician/other awardees who, after winning several times, will step aside so others can be credited, too.

    This is not to say he’s required to. Just that he could consider it.

    At the same time, the followers have a goal to meet.

    • I don’t thing (especially at that age) it would be advisable to step aside.
      At the age that these children mostly are, the other kids won’t see that they are just lucky that he stepped aside, they will really think they are doing better and achieving something.

      Now I personally think they should have an award for “most improved reader” so that someone other than 1st place gets a price for completing more books than they did the year before. Very good incentive to work harder.

      But they also need to compete and try to outpace Tyler, not just expect to get a free pass because he won too many times.

  3. I could almost have written this!! When my sons, Tommy and Robby, were 6 and 7, in 2008, a librarian told them they were being unfair to the other kids in the summer reading program because my boys read too many books!

    • In my opinion any librarian who discourages a child from reading or shames a child for reading “too many books” should be fired and never allowed to work in a library ever again.
      If this was a less civilized country I would suggest something involving a firing squad.

  4. That library director would have hated me, beginning in third grade. I couldn’t do math well – it took me a while to figure out it was another language with funny-shaped letters-but reading? Way to go Tyler and Chris! As someone who excelled at reading at your age (and was lucky enough not to have a dragon for a teacher, principal, or librarian) I am impressed!

  5. When I started first grade, the librarian was angry that I was able to read books from the seventh grade section. She wanted everyone reading from their own grade level. Ah, the joy of narrow-minded people.

  6. Reminds me of two instances from my elementary years. In library class we were supposed to read books in various categories, two of each. I completely filled my sheet, though I left off some because I re-read a couple I liked and read more than two in some categories. The librarian thought I was making up my list. *sigh* And my first elementary school used to hold School Night at which little gilt plaster statues of boys/girls standing on open books were awarded to kids who had done well in various academic areas. But apparently some of the parents complained because their kids never won, so they discontinued it. My family moved and we started at another school. As my mother said, “My kids NEVER won anything at Field Day, but they didn’t discontinue that!”

  7. Sorry, that’s the public schools for you. I was lucky. My librarian loved me, because I was reading all the time. But the teachers were afraid I’d read so much “I wouldn’t get homework done.” Now, if they had only made their lessons as interesting as those books… seriously. They don’t seem to know the meaning of the word challenging. I was interested in EVERYTHING, but I couldn’t get over the feeling that school was just mass babysitting with lesson plans designed to give as little actual knowledge in as long a period as possible.

  8. Heck, we had a family card + went to the library every 2 weeks. Get 2 fairy tale books. Use 1 for a base, double stack whatever, put another oversize fairytale book on top. Hold in place w/chin

  9. Perhaps the library director should be required to read the short story, “Harrison Bergeron,” by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. I remember reading that in high school English class as required reading. FWIW, I’ve was like the kid in the story too, and as an adult I still read at least 1-2 books per week, on average.

  10. Meredith, it’s not that I doubt your intent, but I’m curious. Where was the city this incident took place in? If it was in Maricopa County, Arizona, I’m on my way to discuss this issue with the appropriate city council.

  11. In first grade, I was able to read and comprehend stuff at a 12th-grade level. If I’d been in the position of that kid in the article, my mom in particular would have been all over those people, breathing fire and tearing out throats.

  12. Pingback: And stop throwing so many touchdowns too! « Snippets of random

  13. Here’s my take on this: If your kid quits because he can’t keep up, then I don’t want him sitting in the cube next to mine at work. If he quits because it’s too hard, then I don’t want him sitting in the same office. I’ll be honest, I didn’t do well in school. I’m basically a C student, but I am the best at my job. If you allow your kid to quit when it’s hard, then they’ll never learn how to succeed and I’m not carrying their weight at work and no one else should either.

  14. I will list all my remarks on this article. First off, the kid wins. It’s not fair for the library to badmouth him for not winning. If you enjoy, you should excel. If you excel, you should have a fair chance of winning, and all those kids are given a fair chance.

    That being said… if I were in the situation that kid is in… always winning things all the time… Being a sport shooter, if I hit the bulls eye every time I fired a gun, I’d likely win all the firearms competitions I’m in. I’d enjoy it for a while… I would eventually step down and just keep shooting on the personal level and challenging myself while letting other people keep shooting the competitions. If I was a champion reader who couldn’t lose, I’d do exactly the same.

    That said, that is a PERSONAL choice. Certainly not a requirement. And if that kid makes the PERSONAL choice NOT to back out.. and to keep competing… I say more power to him.

  15. I grew up in a household that read….my mom, my sisters, my brother, me and when we were at my dads….my dad. I aced every subject in school, except the dreaded math….placed at a Jr. College reading level while in the 7th grade and as a result, was put into a “Creative Reading” class….where I got to read and turn in book reports…as many as I could and as often as I could, (that was my schools solution to “not making the other kids feel bad”). When my children were little, I didn’t want them playing video games or watching cartoons all day…so during the summer, every summer, I had cable turned off and limited them to two hours of Nintendo a day. During the evenings….all 5 of us could be found, in the living room as a family….and all reading. We had several discussions about books, which would lead each of us to read other books….and anxiously wait until the last of us had read a good book so that we could discuss it….all three of my children are voracious readers. My grandchildren are just as voracious readers as their parents or as I am. I cannot begin to understand how a Librarian would think it at all okay to discourage a child from reading or to want to think it okay to expect one child to “step aside” to make another child feel accomplished. Life isn’t fair and the journey is about getting there…not about it being given to you. OMG! Road trips….we spent them making up stories. I’d start with a sentence….and then my ex would pick up the story, and add a sentence….and then the kids and we’d go for hours. The stories would get over the top and often silly, but it was fun and it made the long road trips fly by.

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