Highlands student reads between 100 and 200 books a year just for fun
Editor’s note: This is part of an occasional series that features Alle-Kiski Valley residents and the notable things they do.
Lucas Witt sees life mostly in black and white, like the words on a printed page.
That’s because the Highlands High School junior can often be found with a book — more than 200 of them this school year alone.
“I don’t think your head should always be in a cellphone, or a tablet or watching TV,” he said. “Sometimes it’s better to read a book.”
Lucas runs for the track team, works as a library aide and is a member of the National Honors Society.
He hopes more students jump on the book reading bandwagon. “Just find something that interests you and roll with it,” he said. “If you like a certain genre of books, read it.”
Science fiction is Lucas’ favorite genre, anything with futuristic technology, aliens and some type of conflict.
His average book size is between 300 and 400 pages.
“It’s stuff we could achieve eventually,” said Lucas, 17. “I’ll read anything fiction. It definitely helps me in (classes) like English and when we’re writing essays. I just read quick.”
Lucas read the milestone 200th book in April. High school library media specialist Sandra Reidmiller and her team helped him celebrate.
Reidmiller said they had 200 candies, dropped 200 pieces of confetti and other 200-themed celebratory items.
“I’ve taught in other districts, and I can tell you I’ve never had a student with such a passion for reading,” she said. “Other than just the enjoyment you get reading a good book, one of the biggest benefits of reading is the increased vocabulary. You’re coming across a lot of new words, and you’re reading them in context.”
Reidmiller supports Lucas’ reading habit by going to the Community Library of Allegheny Valley’s Harrison branch to get books for him that the school library may not have.
“I’m very appreciative that she does that for me,” Lucas said. “It really helps me out a lot because we don’t always have stuff here.”
Lucas’ love of reading began in middle school with the literary series “Spirit Animals” by Brandon Mull and other contributing authors.
“I sort of fell in love with the characters,” he said. “One of them reminded me of myself and what I wanted to be.”
Every year since then has been a challenge to read more than before. Lucas said he read about 97 books in ninth grade and at least 150 as a 10th-grader.
His favorite author is Patrick Ness and his “Chaos Walking” trilogy.
“It’s like a big, weird, strange social structure that goes on,” he said of the series. “I don’t write anything, but I’d like to write something in the future with all the stuff I’ve read here.”
Lucas’ favorite subject is history, and can tell a lot of science fiction stories pull from past events. His future plans include going to college to become an electrical engineer — and work on projects like the ones in his books.
Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-871-2367, [email protected] or via Twitter .