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Old 08-20-2013, 09:17 AM   #1
fjtorres
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Avid reader kid dominates reading contest, library director miffed

Nobody likes curve busters, not even library directors. After 9 year old kid, 5-time champ of library summer reading contest, reads 63 books in six weeks, the library director suggests he should stop competing. Alternately, she suggests picking names out of a hat.

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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.

Gandron further told the reporter she planned to change the rules of the contest so that instead of giving prizes to the children who read the most books, she would draw names out of a hat and declare winners that way. She said she can’t now because Katie has come forward to the newspaper.
Nice way to "encourage" excellence!

This comes to mind:


Last edited by Alexander Turcic; 08-20-2013 at 09:51 AM.
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Old 08-20-2013, 09:25 AM   #2
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I remember my first summer in Canada; I was eleven. My routine was to ride a bike to the local library, borrow 7 books (the maximum allowed) and head home.

The next day, return the 7 books and repeat the cycle.
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Old 08-20-2013, 09:42 AM   #3
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Except some people can never be super

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Old 08-20-2013, 09:54 AM   #4
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Hmm!

A my library (where I work as the childrens librarian) we also have a summer reading club.

Our rules are simple, read 5 books and you can chose one book to keep. You can repeat this as many times as you like and keep it up all through the summer holiday. When you have read your 5 books, you turn in a card with your name and address. This card acts like a lottery ticket at the end of the reading club when we draw winners from all the cards turned in. So the more books you read the greater your chance of winning, but you can win even if you just turned 1 card in. Since every kid gets to chose a book for every 5 read those that really like reading gets rewarded with more books and a higher chance at winning the lottery.

This works fine for us!
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Old 08-20-2013, 10:17 AM   #5
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Why not pick three winners instead of just one. Yes, this one special gifted kid will always be among them, but at least he won't be the only one.
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Old 08-20-2013, 10:21 AM   #6
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Why not pick three winners instead of just one. Yes, this one special gifted kid will always be among them, but at least he won't be the only one.
It sounds like they do.
And his kid brother finishes second.
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Old 08-20-2013, 10:30 AM   #7
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I guess it all depends, is it a reading competition or a reading club? I believe you should award those that read well and a lot, but at the same time a understands the library director. Not all children benefits from competition, the trick is to make those that struggle with reading also find it meaningful not just this really gifted kid. Of cause he should be awarded and praised but other kids also needs to be encouraged too...
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Old 08-20-2013, 10:55 AM   #8
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See, here's where I don't get it.

This boy isn't coming across as "really gifted." He just reads more than the other kids because he wants to and is willing to put in the time. I know I regularly read 2-3 books a day when I was that age, so it's not like he's putting up insurmountable numbers.

I think the competition is fine.
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Old 08-20-2013, 10:58 AM   #9
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I remember my first summer in Canada; I was eleven. My routine was to ride a bike to the local library, borrow 7 books (the maximum allowed) and head home.

The next day, return the 7 books and repeat the cycle.
Wow I've never managed to read 7 books in a day. 3 at most not counting novellas.

When I was 11 I was reading mainly SF and westerns, and was possibly reading 4-5 a week in winter, summer maybe 3-4

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Old 08-20-2013, 11:15 AM   #10
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Nobody likes curve busters, not even library directors. After 9 year old kid, 5-time champ of library summer reading contest, reads 63 books in six weeks, the library director suggests he should stop competing. Alternately, she suggests picking names out of a hat.



Nice way to "encourage" excellence!

This comes to mind:

Reminds me of a SciFi story I read, where the people with good vison were required to wear glasses that made their vision worse, and fast runners were hobbled and smart people had to wear headphones playing loud distracting sounds. The goal was an equal society.

While people are entitled to their opinions, I can't understand someone in a position of authority over children victimizing one of them that way. Calling him a hog to the press is inexcusable. He may read fast or he may read a lot. I doubt if he does it to be a hog. Just likes reading more than most. I didn't read 10 books a week at that age, but I could have if I wanted to spend less time on other things. I am sure many of the other children could as well. Those that can't read one no matter how hard they try are probably not in the 'contest'.

Rather than embarrassing and basically punishing the child in a thoroughly unprofessional manner, she could have made a rule that the previous years winner could not compete for a year, or made part of the prize a job assisting with next years contest and thus disqualified him. Or perhaps not spoken to the press without first engaging her brain.

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Old 08-20-2013, 11:16 AM   #11
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If the point of the contest is to encourage children to read rather than to pick a clear winner, then I can see why the director is annoyed. If the other kids stop participating because they have no chance of competing, then the whole plan falls apart.
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Old 08-20-2013, 11:18 AM   #12
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I understand the reasoning of the library director. Competition can be pretty toxic and easily leads to results that are opposite of what is desired (here: kids stopping to read because they feel discouraged). It isn't fun to "lose" when you get crushed.

I feel it's troublesome and misguided to pitch kids against each other instead of encouraging team spirit where all contribute together toward a common goal (say, a new "highscore" of how many books all kids combined read in a given summer). A sense of "us" instead of "vs others".

Insightful book on this topic: "No contest" by Alfie Kohn.
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Old 08-20-2013, 11:21 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by PeterT View Post
I remember my first summer in Canada; I was eleven. My routine was to ride a bike to the local library, borrow 7 books (the maximum allowed) and head home.

The next day, return the 7 books and repeat the cycle.
Sounds very familiar After a few weeks of that, the staff knew me by name...
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Old 08-20-2013, 11:29 AM   #14
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During a phone call Tuesday to Gandron, the library director said Tyler “hogs” the contest every year and he should “step aside.”
Perhaps instead of suggesting that the kid stop participating she should have just instituted a change in how it's done when the contest is announced the next time. There's no reason that the rules need to stay the same from year to year, but there's no reason to whine about a kid who loves to read and is following your rules. Make it a group goal and give all the kids who participate a party or something.
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Old 08-20-2013, 11:45 AM   #15
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Ok, so I used the wrong word "really gifted", even if I think it is a gift to be able to read fast and enjoy it. I´m a fast reader myself, but not everybody is, just like some people are able to run very fast and some just don´t. It´s as much an achievment for the slow reader that struggle but don´t give up, as for the fast reader that keep on reading. Boyh should get a reward!

I suppose this 9 year old loves to read and puts all his free time to it (I did as a kid) and he should get praised and maybe get a special reward ( a win?) but some kids just can´t read 10 books a day, even if they too put a lot of effort in and they should get praise too, for trying.

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