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Writing struck student's fancy

When Keylon Lovett was a fourth-grader last spring at Lynch Elementary School, he scored in the top 1 percent of 6,712 fourth-graders in Pinellas County on the year's Florida Writes exam, the statewide assessment of students' writing ability.

The highest possible score is 6. He was one of only 46 students who scored 5.5 in Pinellas. A mere 18 scored a 6. This year, Keylon is a fifth-grader and continues to showcase his writing skills. He also was chosen to read a brief message at a memorial the school conducted for Gov. Lawton Chiles.

"I love writing," Keylon said. "You can make up your own, imaginary story."

Florida Writes asks the student only one question, called a prompt. Students never know until test time if the prompt calls for narrative writing, which tells a story, or exposition, which explains a point. They have 45 minutes to write.

When Keylon took the exam last February, he was ready for either one.

As it turned out, his question on the test was, "Explain why one place is your favorite."

"It's a tree house," Keylon explained. "Because I like to daydream and to climb up."