As posted on the SIMCOE REFORMER – Mon. Jan 26, 2009
The words “clang, clang” could be heard echoing through the halls of Walsh Public School Friday morning as students and teachers joined a nationwide effort to break a world record.
In every classroom of the rural school west of Simcoe, teachers read to students from the same book, Robert Munsch’s Mortimer, at exactly the same time.
Students sat on floors, rested chins on cupped hands, and watched and listened.
For 30 minutes the reading went on, from Pigs to Mortimer — “clang, clang, rattle, rattle, bing, bang” — to Purple, Green and Yellow, Murmel, Murmel, Murmel, and Something Good.
With that, Walsh’s 395 students became part of the effort to break the record for the most children being read to by an adult in multiple locations. The previous record was set in the U.S. in 2006 when 78,791 students were read to.
Sponsored by ABC Canada Literacy Foundation, the effort involved children across the country Friday and Saturday. The foundation’s website said more than 190,000 participants had registered.
The group hoped to break the record and promote upcoming Family Literacy Day on Jan. 27.
There are rules to these things. Everybody had to be read the same books in the exact same order and three independent witnesses had to watch.
In Walsh, the effort was complicated by the need to find enough copies of the books.
Parents and kids were asked to bring in theirs while some classrooms called the books up on the Internet and had the pages projected onto SMART Boards, in effect giant computer screens that probably will one day replace the traditional chalk board.
With the touch of a finger, teachers scrolled through the pages while students looked on.
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