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Reading Marathon

Students break record for reading aloud

By Jeffrey Rambo | November 28 , 2006

Student reading a book
Southside High School senior Mike McCann during the start of the school's attempt to break a Guinness World Record for reading, November 16, 2006. (Photo: Jennifer Kingsley/Star-Gazette)

November 28, 2006 

With a little help from Dr. Seuss, a group of six teenagers from Elmira, New York, made history last week.  

For six straight days, these Southside High School seniors had been taking turns reading books out loud. They broke a Guinness World Record for reading aloud by reading for 128 hours straight. The read-a-thon team was on a mission to promote literacy and raise its school’s spirits.

"For the last six days, reading has been the cool thing to do," said principal Christopher Krantz.  “It was really inspirational to a lot of people."

The reading race began at 9 a.m. on November 15 at the high school. The 17-year-olds read books, for mostly one-hour shifts, in the school’s auditorium—all day and night.  The team members began their efforts by reading from Aldous Huxley’s science-fiction classic Brave New World.

The National Honor Society members went on to read more than 20 children’s books. The titles included all six Harry Potter books, seven in the Goosebumps series, and Katherine Paterson’s Bridge to Terabithia.

As they waited to read, the students camped out in tents onstage. Ping-Pong, playing cards, and Scrabble were on hand for entertainment. Each student managed to sleep about 4 hours at a time.  A doctor or nurse was always close by as a safety precaution.

The kids received a round of applause on November 20 at 6 a.m. for matching the world record set in England last year—117 hours.

For the grand finale, senior Channing Koster read Dr. Seuss's Oh, The Places You'll Go.

"I was kind of nervous because it was our closing thing," Koster later admitted.  "It was really exciting, though."

The crowd, filled with parents, friends, and community members, stood cheering as the new world record was set at 5 p.m. later that day.

"We're pretty much past the being-tired stage,” said participant Eric Murphy, after breaking the record.  “We're going to have a dinner party with all the families, and then I'll go home and get some sleep. I have to be up for school tomorrow."

 

Critical Thinking Question

Read today's news story, and then answer the following question.



Reading Marathon

If you could break any world record, what would you choose? Why?

Join a discussion of this question on our bulletin board.

 

 

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