A Summit County 6-year old’s 500 books of summer | SummitDaily.com

A Summit County 6-year old’s 500 books of summer

Kathryn Corazzelli
Summit Daily News
Special to the Daily

It started as a question and turned into a quest.

At the end of last school year, Summit County resident Lisa Kazazean asked her son Armen, age 6, how many books he wanted to read over the summer. She suggested 100, but Armen said 500.

“Once he said it, I figured why not go with it,” Lisa said. “It’s his goal.”

“I just decided I wanted to do it,” said Armen, now a first grader at Summit Cove Elementary.

And so he did. Armen, with the help of his mother and a few others, reached his lofty goal earlier this month.

Every other day Lisa and Armen, accompanied by his younger brother Zain, 22 months, would visit the library – sometimes taking out 30 at a time – and place a stack next to his bed. Armen read just about everywhere: at breakfast, waiting in lines, even in the tub. He also read about almost every subject imaginable, including birth, death, bullies, religions, the human body, historical figures and kindness. Armen’s three favorites were “We Are In A Book!,” “Scaredy Squirrel Makes a Friend” and “Grandpa’s Teeth,” the tale of a pair of stolen teeth. The victim, Grandpa, makes everyone in the town smile wide to prove they aren’t the culprit.

Lisa kept a log of every book read in a spiral notebook; Armen read 98 of the books on his own, and the rest were read with him. Lisa can look at the handwriting and tell who helped him out on certain days. Babysitters were given extra points, she joked.

Armen was born in Armenia and adopted by Lisa at age 2. He was never read to at the orphanage.

“He never got a chance to hear any English until I brought him back,” Lisa said.

“Now I don’t know any other languages except for English,” Armen said. He learned to read at age 5.

Of his summer reading, Armen boasts he remembers everything. And he does; He can summarize any book on the list at its mention.

“I am amazed at his retention,” Lisa said.

The original idea for the challenge came from the Family and Intercultural Resource Center’s Fathers Reading Every Day program, a challenge to read at least 15 minutes a day.

“I always thought as a mother I read enough to both Armen and Zain, but once I started recording the time, I realized sometimes reading three or four children’s books would only take a few minutes,” Lisa said.

Now, Lisa has found she can reference a book to help explain a situation – like saving money – or help Armen have more empathy and understanding.

“It really helps me be a better parent,” she said.

When Lisa asked Armen if he would do it all over again, it was a definite “yes.” In fact, they are working on finishing a second 500 before the end of the year, a challenge made by one of Lisa’s friends.

All of the teachers at school are especially excited, since Armen’s aspirations could help other students set their own goals, Lisa said.

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