It’s a small room at Lindsey Middle School, adorned with bright colors, neon fixtures, balmy lava lamps and an array of reading material along its outer walls. On Friday mornings, students kick back they like they’re football fans on game day, sprawled out on shag-carpet-covered futons and purple bean bags.
Enter the school’s newly furnished reading lounge, a place Lindsey Principal Todd Morris says enhances reading with its relaxing decor.
“It’s a lot different than your typical library,” Morris said. “It’s a reading lounge, a fun place. The children love to lay in here and hang out.”
The sixth-grade school recently earned a $7,5000 grant from the R. D. & Joan Dale Hubbard Foundation. The money will go toward 3,000 additional books Morris said he’s already ordered for the small lounge.
On Aug. 23, Morris was in Ruidoso to accept the check; two days later he said the reading room became a lot more colorful and inviting.
Students say they like the lounge.
“I like it because there’s pillows and you get to read a lot,” Lindsey student Isidro Duran said Friday afternoon.
Duran was laying back in the corner of the room Friday, book in hand and a head rest between the wall and his wits.
Richie Hobbs said different genres of reading material make the room more alluring to students.
“I like it because of the pictures and books,” Hobbs said. “There’s lots of books: adventures, mysteries, all kinds…”
In all the Hubbard Foundation awarded 37 New Mexico schools almost $150,000. More than 140 schools in the state applied for grants.
Morris, who said he’s good friends with the Hubbards and a Ruidoso native, also won a $10,000 grant two years ago for his Marshall Junior High School science class in Clovis.
“The Hubbards do great things,” Morris said. “We were lucky to win the award. The kids are excited, the parents are impressed. It’s a great program for us.”
Hubbard Foundation Director Jim Stoddard said Lindsey was awarded the $7,500 to help students improve their reading.
“Todd recognized a need in the school’s literacy program,” Stoddard is quoted in a press release from the foundation. “He wanted to provide books at various reading levels which assist their balanced literacy program.”
But the mass amount of books are just part of the Morris plan to improve reading. The principal said he believes meshing a relaxing environment with learning inspires students — and maybe even a few employees.
“I’ve got to watch the janitor and the secretary as they may sneak in here for a nap,” he joked. “It’s too comfortable in here.”