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Poplin Elementary school helps break world record

2009-2010 North Carolina Teacher of the Year Jessica Garner (a Union County teacher), reads “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” to a class of kindergarten students at Poplin Elementary who joined more than one million other students across America in reading the same book.

About 100 kindergarten students at Poplin Elementary joined more than one million other students across America to break a world record of everyone reading the same book at the same time.
The book, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” was written in 1969 by Eric Carle, the story of the life of a caterpillar who grows up into a beautiful butterfly. The book is translated into 46 languages and read all over the world.
“Read for the Record is a global effort to promote literacy and reading with others,” said Poplin Elementary Principal Stephanie McManus. “I thought this was a great opportunity to teach our kindergarten students what it means to be a member of the world community and know they were doing something that the world community of 5- and 6-year-olds were doing at the same time.”
McManus invited special guest readers who traveled to all the kindergarten classes to read the Hungry Caterpillar. The four guest readers were UCPS Superintendent Dr. Ed Davis, North Carolina Board of Education member John Tate III, 2009-2010 North Carolina Teacher of the Year Jessica Garner (a Union County teacher), and UCPS Director of Elementary Education Lori Cauthen.
“The children were very receptive and excited about their guest readers,” McManus said. “They enjoyed the book and enjoyed sharing some of their ideas about the book and how caterpillars turn into butterflies. This book talks about a life experience that they can truly relate to in the form of a very artistic and colorful and fun book.”
Michael Sloan, 5, said the experience was fun, especially since he had read the book in preschool and was familiar with the story. “I like when he gets into a cocoon and he turns into a butterfly,” he said. “When I see a cocoon up in a tree, I don’t bother it. I just let it grow into a butterfly. I can’t really reach them, but even when I get bigger and bigger, I’m still not going to touch them.”
McManus said the students were also very excited about being involved in breaking last year’s reading record of 688,000 people who read a book simultaneously across America. “It’s exciting for them to know that children throughout the country are reading the exact same book,” McManus said.
According to the Read for the Record web site, this year’s effort brought in more than a million readers, blowing away last year’s recorded 688,000 readers.
The idea to join the national effort came from the 2009-2010 North Carolina Teacher of the Year, Jessica Garner, a Spanish teacher at Porter Ridge High School. “The State Superintendent (June Atkinson) mentioned it at the September state board meeting,” Garner said.
“It really focuses on the importance of reading, especially at a young age,” she added. “And I think it’s just neat to hear other people read to them. It’s fun to have a visitor in their classroom. I have a daughter in kindergarten, and so being able to read to a kindergarten class was so much fun, and a totally different experience than high school. I really enjoyed it.”
McManus said only the kindergarten students participated this year, but she hopes to increase the opportunity to other grade levels next year.

Written by: Deb Coates Bledsoe, UCPS Communications Coordinator
Posted: Oct 16, 2009 by Deb Bledsoe, UCPS Communications Coordinator

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