The Family Reading Night this Friday shapes up as one of the best ever. The three honored guests who will be there include a search and rescue dog who was a hero after the devastating tornado at Joplin.

The dog is Lily, a weimaraner, who will be brought here by its master and handler, Tara Prosser. The other honored guest will be Carolyn Mueller, an author who wrote the feature, “Lily, a True Story of Courage and the Joplin Tornado.” That series ran for eight weeks in the Weekend Missourian. Carolyn also works as a carnivore (flesh-eating mammal) keeper at the St. Louis Zoo.

That is quite a lineup for the 14th annual free event at the Washington Middle School. The program will begin at 6 p.m. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m.

The Family Reading Night in the past has drawn more than 500 adults and children. After the opening program in the gym, children and their parents may visit classrooms where community leaders and volunteers, including high school athletes, will read to them. As in the past, there will be free refreshments.

Attendees undoubtedly will be as excited about Friday’s program as Dawn Kitchell. She is this newspaper’s director of the Missourian In Education program, who also serves as director of educational services for the Missouri Press Association. Dawn is assisted by Chris Stuckenschneider, Missourian book editor, and a host of volunteers that include members of The Missourian’s staff.  This educational program is made possible by many sponsors who were listed in a full-page ad in the weekend edition. They also sponsor the Missourian In Education program, which makes possible the delivery of The Missourian to nearly 3,000 students, totaling about 100,000 copies annually.

We are grateful to the Washington School District for the use of the Middle School for this annual educational event.

This is a special night for children and it’s a means to get them excited about reading.