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9-year-old breaks Aspermont High School AR record, leaders say he’s on track to break national record

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – A fourth-grade student at Aspermont ISD broke the high school record for accelerated reading at his school, and now his principals say he is potentially on track to break the national record.

To know 9-year-old Culley Cattaneo is to know that reading is all he wants to do in his free time every day, according to his mother, Cassidy Cattaneo.

“He won’t do his chores,” Cattaneo said. “Put the book down and fold your laundry.”

Ironically, Cattaneo said Culley wasn’t interested in reading at all when he was younger.

“But he had to learn to sight-read his second year, so we stuck to it,” Cattaneo explained. “By the end of that summer he had read the whole Harry Potter series.”

When Culley finally found a book he loved, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, that changed everything, and he’s been searching for the next best book ever since.

“Why I love reading so much is because every time I read, I’m part of the story,” Culley explained.

At Aspermont High School, the Accelerated Reader (AR) record was 423 points, and Culley broke it last year with 626 points. This year, it is already at 1,063 points, even before the end of the school year. His manager said if Culley’s reading pace improves to the same level it has been, he’s on track to break the national record, which is 2,718.6.

Culley shared that he had to start reading books from the high school library because he had read almost all the books from elementary school.

“To be completely honest with you, I never thought I would break any records,” Culley added.

His reading teacher, Sarah Loback, said she has to try to get most of the students to read, and shared that since Culley is on his own excited about it, “It’s really refreshing as a teacher of reading to have a child like that.”

She said the purpose of the AR program is to inspire children to read by having celebrations after they reach a goal.

“But Culley doesn’t seem to need these parties. He just wants to read because he wants to read,” Loback said.

Culley shared that he was up for the challenge of trying to break the national record.

“I’ll do my best,” Culley said.

Although it is quite an achievement, his school and his family rally behind him.

“I think that’s something he can definitely do by the end of fifth year,” Loback explained.

Culley wants everyone to know that while reading can sometimes be hard, it can also be fun, and that’s why everyone should give it a try.


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