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12/22/2006
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Fourth graders read together to help break a world record
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Fourth graders read together to help break a world record
By Kevin Kelly
Catholic Key Associate Editor

1222_web.jpg
Kevin Kelly/Key photo
St. Thomas More fourth-graders Kelsey Weyhofen, along with Michael Santa Maria and David DePriest helped break a world record by reading a passage of "Charlotte's Web" aloud on Dec. 13.
KANSAS CITY - Julie Lobb's fourth graders aren't shy.

Just minutes before they were to help break a world reading record, the fourth graders at St. Thomas More School were anxious to share their accomplishments.

"I can read a whole 'Treehouse' book in eight minutes," said Mary Mertes. "She's my witness," pointing to classmate Morgyn Schieber.

David DePriest is the editor of the class newspaper, The Twin Post, whose mission is "to give voice to the creative ideas of the fourth grade class." One of the columnists is Danielle DePriest, who told what she and David did during the two recent snow days. "We tried to have a snowball fight but had a snow fluff fight instead."

Another column by Natalie White explains the "scratch reflex" to answer the question, "Why do some dogs' legs shake when you scratch their bellies?"

Then there is Ally Drummond's riddle: "Why can't a man who lives in New York be buried in California?" Think about it, then tell Ally the answer at recess, she wrote.

The fourth graders then honed in with laser-beam focus when the clock approached the appointed hour: 11 a.m., Central Standard Time.

Reading perfectly together, Lobb's fourth graders, joined by Ann Nigro's fourth graders, and the second graders of Gina Spiller and Benedictine Sister Martha Schweiger, became 92 voices among 547,826 pre-registered participants in all 50 states and 28 countries to break the Guinness World Record for "Most People Reading Aloud Simultaneously in Multiple Locations."

The previous record was set March 19, 2004, when 155,538 students from 737 schools in the United Kingdom read William Wordsworth's "Daffodils" at the same time.

A promotion of Walden Media to promote the release of the upcoming live-action film, each of the more than half-million people read the passage where Wilbur the pig meets Charlotte the spider for the first time.

The students at St. Thomas More were no strangers to the story. Most had already read the E.B. White children's classic, and nearly all of them had seen the 1973 animated film, featuring the voices of Henry Gibson, Debbie Reynolds and Paul Lynde.

"I know what Charlotte writes in her web the first time: 'Some pig,'" one girl offered from across the classroom.

And that was some class.

END


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