Students Devour 466 Chunky Tales


There are five millionaires and six multimillionaires who regularly browse the shelves of the Payson Elementary School library in search of adventure.

Millionaire Reading Club members have devoured 56,465,693 words as of April 8 of this school year.


Millionaire reading club members at Payson Elementary School take to the shelves. Top readers were: three million words, Ali Tenney; two million words, Nate Howard, Luke Manning, Devon Robb, Alexis Gault (not pictured) and Steven Martinez; one million words, Adam Shannon, Kevin Sinon, Sean Self, Harrison Parrish, Logan Morgan (not pictured) and Lane Belcher.

In the words of fifth-grader Steven Martinez, who has devoured 2.4 million, "A lot of us have read big, chunky books."

The top 12 readers have their names on the Wall of Fame for reading 466 books totaling more than 26 million words.

Competitive fifth-grader Ali Tenney is the top reader with 3.2 million words, and she does not plan to let anyone catch up.

Her tentative goal is to become a novelist.

Tenney just finished "Around the World in 80 Days" and is reading Clive Cussler's "The Adventures of Vin Fiz."

"Lacy and Casey are twins. An old man gives them a magical box that turns toys into the real thing. They make the Wright Brothers' flyer," Tenney said.

"Oh, that sounds like a good one," Harrison Parrish commented.

Books in the Redwall series are Parrish's favorites.

"Yeah, they are ‘actiony' and cool," Luke Manning added.

Manning recommended Redwall to him, then he recommended the series to Devon Robb. Robb is on "Martin the Warrior" from the Redwall series. He gets so involved in the story he sometimes looks up from reading and finds that hours have passed.

It seems reading books sometimes takes precedence over sleep on the weekends.

"If I got the chance I would read all night on the weekend, until my eyes hurt," Parrish said.

"I fell asleep once with a book. I was half way on and half way off the couch," Adam Shannon said.

"My mom lets me stay up late on Friday and Saturday nights. That's how I get so many books read," Manning said.

Speed is key for fifth-grader Kevin Sinon.

"People say I read extremely fast. I've read about 50 books, but I'd have to look the number up," he said.

Sinon is on book 50, Newberry and Sequoyah Young Adult Honor winner, "The House of the Scorpion" by Nancy Farmer.

It is science fiction about a "really rich boy, Matt. He makes a clone," Sinon said.

Nate Howard, the only fourth-grader in the Multimillionaire club is enamored of the fantasy series Deltora Quest.

He likes series because, "a normal book, you just read one and it's done. A series just keeps on going, maybe until forever."

His favorite place to kick back and read is an easy chair so he can lean back.

The race may be on, but these fourth- and fifth-graders know the story is of more import than the numbers.

"It was shocking. I didn't even know. I was walking down the hall and Mrs. Evans is like, Adam, you have to come to the meeting (with the Roundup) because you're the newest millionaire," Adam Shannon said.

His favorite book is "The Deathly Hollows," the final Harry Potter novel.

"You think of what's going to happen then everything just backfires," Shannon said.

PES librarian Linda Evans first heard the millionaire club concept at a district in-service meeting.

"Most of these kids are high readers and they also excel writing because they have picked up different styles and vocabulary," Evans said.

She has noticed kids who were not so excited about reading, trying harder so they can join the millionaires.

Children read books at or in many cases above their grade level. They must earn 80 percent or better on a test for a book to count as understood.

Four students are poised to join the Millionaire Club by the end of the month. A few more students may top the million-mark by the end of May.

Book Fair

The Spring Book Fair is Wednesday, April 23 to Friday, May 2 in the Payson Elementary School library.

  • Times from April 23 to 25 are before school, lunch recess and after school from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  • Times from April 28 to May 2 are 7:30 a.m. to 7:55 a.m., morning and lunch recesses and after school from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.
  • Family activity day is 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Thursday, May 1. There will be a spaghetti dinner with food by Gerardo's, a student art display and the book fair will be open.
  • Children eat for $4, adults for $6 and families (immediate only) for $20.

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