MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

September 23, 2008

Are You as Well Read as a High Schooler? Mayor issues challenge

‘We’re trying to get people to read’



Muskogee Mayor John Tyler Hammons recalled reading Lois Lowery’s “The Giver” in middle school and having his eyes opened.

“It has a great message not only for myself, but for Muskogee,” he said. “Change is here. Change is good.”

Muskogee readers will have all sorts of opportunities to open their eyes through good books during the Mayor’s Reading Challenge — Are You as Well Read as a High Schooler — which kicks off on Thursday with a reception at Muskogee Public Library. The library and Muskogee Public Schools are sponsoring the challenge.

Hammons, a 2007 graduate of Muskogee High School, is challenging readers to read books on all four levels of the Muskogee High School reading list through May. The challenge will conclude in May with a “novel tea” at the library. The list includes four plays: Three by William Shakespeare and one by Arthur Miller.

“We’re just trying to get people to read,” said Jan Bryant, head librarian for Muskogee Public Library. “The Muskogee Library’s number one goal is literacy.”

And, unlike the students who must read these books for class, reading challenge participants will not have to answer review questions, Bryant confirmed.

MHS students said they learned a lot from the books they read in class.

Senior Suzannah Owens said she was touched by one of her senior English books, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” a 2003 book by English author Mark Haddon.

“It’s about an autistic kid who writes a book,” she said. “He’s trying to solve a problem of a dog that was murdered.”

Freshman Shenece Jones said she liked one of her required books, “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

“It was great going back in time and how racism was really big then,” she said.

Most of the books on the list are “classic novels that have stood the test of time,” said Jennifer Kilgore, head librarian at Muskogee High School. Other books are recent releases that show potential for being classics.

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