HIS Reads: The History, Value and Process

Annual Theme 2024-2025


"Live life in crescendo" were Stephen R. Covey's words and his approach to life. Just like that, we strive to seek ways to constantly adjust our own way of living to improve ourselves so that we might contribute to the world in a way that makes a positive difference. In the same way, stories are centered on a dramatic code (John Truby) that is based on the idea that each human being wants to become a better version of themselves. Characters and authors who demonstrate this serve as models for readers as they seek to find ways to live life in a morally upstanding way. 

Why we value HIS Reads

Reading increases our ability to imagine, empathize, focus, and think critically. When we better understand the words of others, we deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us. Reading has also been shown to help us sleep better and battle depression. Despite these benefits, our modern world is filled with many other ways to capture our attention. In order to keep reading as a pillar of our society we must defend it!

Defending Reading

To defend reading, HIS Reads was born. In this secondary-wide program, students select books they find valuable, making connections to our annual theme, as they move to inspire their audience to think about questions that our society must answer in order to develop our individual character so that we can increase our positive impact on the world around us. By the end of six minutes, defenders strive to motivate their audience to not only read the selected defense book but to apply their new understandings to their life and the world. 

The Secondary-Wide Program

Students from grade 7 to 12 work throughout the school year within their English Language Arts classes to select books and defend them. Once April and May rolls around, students begin preparing for the HIS Reads Qualifiers, where special judges come into their classroom to select 16 students to enter the HIS Reads Finals — a yearly end-of-year competition, complete with prizes, special judges, and impressive competition —  open to the wider community. 

A Glimpse Into the Heart of HIS Reads

Historic HIS Reads Themes by Year

— 2023-2024 — PIVOT

"Man was made for conflict, not for rest," Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote. "In action is his power; not in his goals but in his transitions man is great." Ongoing action through tension is at the heart of good storytelling and it is the key ingredient for future growth in our own lives. Choosing the right time to pivot and the right focus can make all the difference. 

— 2022-2023 — REDISCOVERY

To discover is to find out something for the first time. To rediscover is to remember what was lost or forgotten. Moments of great turmoil often lead to great loss, stripping us of the identity we once held dear. But as we battle through that turmoil, we reemerge in the place we started with fresh eyes to rediscover where we came from and who we used to be.

The 2024 Ultimate Defender of Reading: Jiho Han!

The 2024 Top Two: Jiho and Ava!

The Sweet 16 Finalists: HIS Reads 2023

Look at the 2023 Finalists' Excitement!

HIS Reads 2023 Judges

Our 2023 Special Judges' Concentration

The 2023 Final Four

HIS Reads 2022 Finals

The 2022 Finalists & Judges

The 2022 Top 2 Finalists

HIS Reads Finals by (Available) Year

The HIS Reads Process

Assessing the Defense