Reading for a record

Published 11:59 pm Thursday, October 8, 2009

Pleasant Home School students were part of a world record Thursday morning.

On that day, members of the PHS student council read Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar to 246 students in the elementary school grades. The activity was not only a service project for the student council, but it was also in conjunction with “Jumpstart: Read for the Record” — a worldwide campaign to have more than 1 million school children read the same book on the same day.

“In some cities, there are celebrities and politicians coming to read the books to the kids,” said Connie Karthaus, reading coach at PHS. “Here, 10 members of the student council offered to do it. But you know, they’re almost like celebrities themselves, because those young kids really look up to the students in junior high and high school.”

In addition to reading the book, members of the student council also enhanced the experience with props, puppets, and various activities including coloring sheets.

“This is all about getting children hooked on literacy and showing them the importance of reading,” Karthaus said.

The younger children weren’t the only ones who enjoyed the day’s events.

“This was a really fun day,” said Katelyn Smith, a seventh grader who was one of the readers. “These kids were very excited. It was fun to teach the kids and they enjoyed it and so did I.”

Other schools also participated in the “Read for the Record” campaign. At Red Level School, local parents acted as reading volunteers. At Andalusia Elementary School, reading coach Vickie Ptomey said teachers told their students to take the “pledge to read,” and then either read the book or acted out the book before letting the kids participate in book-related activities.

On a national scale, the book was read on Thursday’s episode of the Today Show, and author Eric Carle also made an appearance.

The “Read for the Record” campaign is presented in partnership with the Pearson Foundation and Wal-Mart.