LHHS Librarian Jack Gilliland is busy preparing for the campus-wide "LH Reads" event planned for Tuesday, April 1. The first twenty minutes of each class period all day will be devoted to reading in class, and student, faculty, and staff will all participate. "We can’t wait," principal Dr. Bob Iden told me today. "Everyone on campus looks forward to this."

Gilliland’s goal is to encourage reading for pleasure, so students will be permitted to read books of their choice. "By the end of the day," said library assistant Missie Hendon, "we’ll all be close to finishing our books and we’ll be hurrying home to find out the ending." To promote the event, they’re having a contest called "Who is That?" High school photos of 35 faculty members have been posted at the library door, and winning guessers will receive prizes from an I-tunes gift card to a jar of jelly beans to a pair of tickets to Studio Movie Grill.

"Encouraging reading is worth our time," Gilliland told me. "Even students who have not been big readers get involved. We have found that during ‘LH Reads Day,’ disciplinary referrals go down, student trips to the clinic decrease, and library circulation numbers increase. Long term – reading skills improve, TAKS scores rise, and SAT scores go up."

So what’s on Gilliland’s personal reading list? "I’ve been reading ‘Rucker Park Set Up,’ by Paul Volponi," he said. "This author writes about youth involved in ethical dilemmas, and the kids really enjoy discussing them." (Gilliland warns about "gritty" language in that one.) He also suggests "A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini, "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian" by Sherman Alexie, and "Deadline" by Chris Crutcher. "Deadline" is about an eighteen year old boy who discovers that he will soon die from an illness and chooses many (sometimes wacky) adventures to experience before he goes. How wonderful to know that all of LHHS will be reading for April Fool’s Day!