Will Desler is there before the door opens.
Ready to claim his prize in the King County Library System’s Summer Reading Program, he’s primed in a bright green Sounders jersey. That shirt is appropriate. Because, just as some kids play baseball and others pursue a soccer ball, this 10-year-old Duthie Hill resident’s sport is reading. And for the fifth year, he’s been the champ at Fall City Library, the first kid across the 1000-hour finish line for five years running.
Desler made sure to show up before opening time on Thursday, Aug. 1, the first day that children could claim the ‘final prize,’ a tote bag, and a chance at a new e-reader.
He happens to be a team captain for Fall City Elementary’s team in the annual Battle of the Books, The Dynomite.
Mom Anne is full of praise for the librarians at Fall City and KCLS—who, after four years, know Will enough to print out a banner with his name on it as the first finisher.
Will, who is deaf and hears with the aid of a cochlear implant inside his skull, has been very well supported by KCLS librarians for many years, says Anne.
This summer, his reading tastes have ranged from the “Dollhouse Murders” youth mystery books by Betty Ren Wright to books on architecture.
Desler excitedly shares some discoveries. He’s thrilled to learn about the milk-bottle-shaped roadstand at Benewah, Wash., for instance.
In the summer reading program, he’s won plenty of prizes over the years, from art kits to pizza certificates.
But this is really about the thrill of being first, having bragging rights as a speedy reader.
The Summer Reading Program began June 1. By June 20, Desler had reached the thousandth minute, reading up to 200 minutes at a stretch.
He was done well before the July 1 midpoint, when young readers could pick up their half-way prize at local libraries.
Marking the segments on his Summer Reading Program map, “Now he’s better at fractions,” says Anne.
“I love reading so much,” says Will, who enjoys the imagination and adventure of reading, and has written his own stories. He and his mom sometimes read together.
Children’s Librarian Paula Burton said Fall City has about 200 finishers in the reading program. Some line up after Desler to get the goods.
“It’s popular,” she said. “They’re very enthusiastic.”