Rice finds adventure in books

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 20, 2010

NATCHEZ — At any given moment, McLaurin Elementary School student Vivian Rice is probably reading a book.

Rice has checked out approximately 200 books from the library this year, read them, and tested at a 91.9 percent comprehension level. The fourth grader also reads on at an approximate seventh-grade level.

“Every time you open up a book it is like an adventure,” 10-year-old Rice said. “You are in the book, you are the people and you go on an adventure.”

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Rice said she was pleased with her year, but feels like she is going to top it next year when she attends Morgantown Elementary School, if the library will let her check out enough books.

“I think I can do better,” Rice said. “As long as I have a good book, I can do way better.”

Mary Armstead, who is McLaurin’s assistant librarian and coordinator for the Accelerated Reader program, said the school had to break the library’s policy of three books per child at a time for Rice.

“I have to sneak seven to eight books to her so the other students won’t see,” Armstead said. “If I only let her have three, Vivian would have them back in two days.

“She is just a bright, spunky, little girl that loves to read.”

Armstead said Rice, whose favorite books have been the “Harry Potter” series, reads so often that she once wondered if Rice did anything else.

“I asked her if she ever played outside,” Armstead said. “She said she sometimes did, but that she’d rather just read.”

Rice, who is an honor roll student, has taken her reading too far, including getting in trouble in class for reading a book under her desk, Armstead said. Rice also once got in trouble at home.

“I’ve always asked if I could read ‘Moby Dick,’ but my parents always said no,” Rice said. “So one day I took it, got a flashlight and hid under the covers reading it — but they found out.”

Rice’s dad, Edwin Rice, said he and his wife, Sandra Rice, were proud of her.

“I think what she achieved was impressive,” Edwin Rice said. “I attribute it mostly to my wife, who worked with her at home.”

Rice, who wants to be a veterinarian and a writer, has already started writing her own books.

“I want to write books so other children can have an adventure,” Rice said. “I make some for my brother now, and he likes them.”

While Rice scored the highest at McLaurin, other students also achieved high scores in the Accelerated Reader program, including Antoine Green, 10.

“I like reading because you can learn different things, things that will help you,” Green said. “I think it is fun and exciting. I read every day.”

Antionette Brown, 10, likes mystery books the best.

“I like them because you can solve the mystery,” Brown said.

McLaurin students read approximately 30,000 books this year and had 13 students reach 100 Accelerated Reader points. Rice earned 400.3 points.

The Natchez-Adams School District students have read a total of 116,001 books this year.