First-grader Deyaa Museitef doesn’t have time for video games or television. He’d rather be reading.
Deyaa has dominated Westchase Elementary School in its annual book-reading contest. He’s read 768 books, more or less. It’s tough to tell because he finishes another book almost every day, so estimates vary. Deyaa himself doesn’t know, but he knows he wants to finish even more.
He’s been reading since preschool, which was all of two years ago. He learned about the myON website, which is a program that creates an individual profile for each student based on interests and reading ability. It then generates a recommended book list for students.
Deyaa discovered a whole new world that included a lot of books about fish, especially sharks. Deyaa, who wants to be a writer and work in the science field, decided that he wanted to know all he could about fish, sharks and the rest of the world.
A thoughtful kid who was named a “Star Wizard,” one of the highest honors at Westchase Elementary, Deyaa said he just loves to read and can’t get enough.
“I want to learn about everything in the world,” he said. “I like video games sometimes, but only when I get done with all of my reading. It’s more fun to learn.”
Deyaa said he will read anything that he can find, especially nonfiction.
He kids that sometimes he knows more about some things than his first-grade teachers, but he doesn’t like to brag.
“I always try to find extra time to read,” Deyaa said. “Instead of playing, I like to go on myON and read. I might spend 25 minutes on the computer, but too much time on the computer can be bad. I’d rather have a book or go to the library.”
Deyaa has more on his mind than just reading books. He said he wants to help other people who aren’t quite as privileged. He gets an allowance from his parents and wants to tell homeless people that they can have it all. That might be a bit of a reach, but he feels strongly, even as a first-grader, that something needs to be done to help the poor and needy.
“I started reading about the homeless and wondered why they didn’t have homes,’’ Deyaa said. “I want to save my money to help them. I have money that I save and I want to give it all to the poor people. I want to stand out in the street and ask people who need money to come over and I will give it to them. I want to give them free money. Reading is fun, but not having a home is no fun.”