AES student places 4th in state writing contest

Published 12:38 am Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Teachers who have trouble getting their students to read often tell them that it can be a “rewarding experience.” For AES fifth grader Taran Carrasco, her love of reading brought her quite the reward — a $1,000 savings bond.

Taran won the savings bond after she finished in fourth place in a statewide reading-and-writing contest sponsored by the GMAC Bowl and Hoar Construction. More than 8,000 fifth graders throughout the state participated in the contest.

“I read a lot,” Taran said. “I read my first Harry Potter book when I was in second grade, and then I read the last one when I was in fourth grade. I started reading the (Lemony Snicket and a) Series of Unfortunate Events series in October, and I’m on my 11th one now.”

Earlier this year, the students in fifth grade classes at AES wrote book reports on the books of their choice. Each teacher picked the top four or five in her class and submitted those reports to the contest. Taran said her parents received a phone call from GMAC Bowl/Hoar Construction last week, notifying them that Taran’s report had been selected as one of the top 10 in the state.

“We were all really excited,” Taran said.

Taran traveled to Mobile last Monday to participate in the finals. Each of the 10 finalists were asked to read the book “The Red Kayak,” and then write a book report in front of one of the contest’s judges.

“I talked about the character descriptions in my report,” Taran said. “I wrote about how I really liked how the author pulled me into the world of the three boys, Brady, J.T. and Digger. I think that my favorite thing about the book was the characters and how realistic they seemed to me.”

Taran laughed when she explained that she was the last of the 10 finalists to turn in her report.

“I was the very last one to finish,” she said. “When I came out, my mom told me that she’d bet my dad I’d be the last one to finish. I’m such a perfectionist; everything has to be perfect.”

Taran’s attention to detail paid off; in addition to the savings bond, she also won a portable DVD player and a $50 gift certificate to the Bel Air Mall in Mobile.

Barbara Peek, Taran’s teacher at AES, had high praise for the winning student.

“She’s a teacher’s dream,” Peek said. “She’s motivated, a hard worker and has a gift for writing. Everyone in the class has these poems that they do for me, and I always look forward to reading hers to see what she has to say, because they’re always wonderful and well thought out.”

Taran said she likes reading, but her favorite subject is probably spelling. She would like to be either a marine biologist or an orthodontist.

Taran is the daughter of Robert and Melinda Carrasco, and has a sibling, R.J.