Providence Christian eighth-grader Elizabeth Thompson recently completed her 140th book, becoming the first student to complete every work in the school’s Headmaster’s Reading Society list.
Many years ago, a group of school parents and staff compiled an exhaustive recommended reading list. The general consensus was that there were too many works included, making it overwhelming to students and parents.
To ensure students were reading the very best works, outgoing headmaster Dr. Tony Jeffrey asked librarian Sue Netherland to compile a “Top 35” list for each grade level.The lists would include age-appropriate fiction, historical, biographical, and religious works from the most respected authors in the world. In 2013, the Headmaster’s Reading Society (HMS) was born. To become members, students were required to finish reading all 35 selections within a calendar year.
“The Headmaster’s Reading Society was created as a program to encourage and reward students who love to read as well as help them build a habit of becoming lifetime readers,” Jeffrey said.
When the Reading Society began in the 2013-14 school year, only 20 students were admitted. Among them was Elizabeth, who was in fifth grade at the time.
She has completed the list of books for her grade every year since then. Elizabeth also chose to read the first- through fourth-grade lists as well, making her the first student to complete all 140 titles including works like The Scarlet Pimpernel, Mere Christianity, and multiple Shakespeare selections.
“Reading the books on the Top 35 lists expanded my knowledge about books and how different authors write,” Elizabeth said. “Although I enjoyed reading each of the books, two of my favorites were The Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R. Tolkien and Bruchko by Bruce Olson.”
Elizabeth was recognized at this year’s HMS Award Luncheon, the largest yet with 117 students in attendance. Each member of the HMS is awarded personalized plaques for their home library, as well as a personalized collectible book from the list.
The list of “35 Great Books” can be found at http://www.pcstx.org/top-thirty-five-books-by-class/