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Cottage Grove's Crestview Elementary aims to keep fifth-graders reading

John Coy (seated), author of "Top of the Order," a youth book about baseball, signed the books fifth-graders read at Crestview Elementary School. From left, are students Mathew Frich, Zachary Keller-Bies and Jessica Dobos. Submitted photo

It's not unusual for Reed Tschumperlin's fifth-graders to be reading because, after all, it's I Love to Read Month. But these students also recently met and talked with an author who autographed the books they get to keep.

Crestview Elementary School Principal Rich Romano and Tschumperlin worked together on the book project, which was also targeted to keep fifth-grade boys reading.

Nationwide, reading test scores for boys in fourth- and fifth-grade are behind the scores for girls of the same age. District 833 test scores show the gap closing slightly as teachers and media specialists look for ways to increase interest in reading.

They've discovered that boys like books about boys and stories about kids their own age and books with action and adventure.

A book called "Top of the Order," by John Coy, was chosen for this month's reading project, and Romano was able to get Coy to talk to the students about the book and the writing process.

"They were surprised to hear what it takes to write a book and get it published," Tschumperlin said. Students are also interested in reading the second and third book and have been invited to a book signing at the Red Balloon Book Store in St. Paul.

Boys like books that are part of a series, he said, adding that he was anxious about the girl's reaction to reading a book aimed at a male audience, but the girls liked the book, he said.

Dom Treber liked the book because one of the sports he plays is baseball. "It also had comedy in the beginning," he said.

If parents want to encourage their kids to read, they should pay attention to the movies they like, he said. "If they like science fiction, then get them those books."

Faith Bonneson liked "Top of the Order" because she plays soccer and is interested in sports. But she prefers books with realistic fiction or fantasy.

Justus Robinson, who likes to read adventure and mythology books said buying the Coy books for kids is a good way to get them to read more.

The students are looking forward to reading more books by Coy, Tschumperlin said.

Judy Spooner
Judy Spooner is the longest-serving staff writer at the South Washington County Bulletin. Spooner, who covers education and features in addition to writing a weekly column, has been with the newspaper for over 30 years.
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