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Reading for the record books
by Mollee Francisco
Feb 10, 2012 | 1613 views | 1 1 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Victoria Mayor Mary Hershberger-Thun takes a turn in Chaska Middle School West's Perpetual Reader display. (Photo by Mollee Francisco)
Victoria Mayor Mary Hershberger-Thun takes a turn in Chaska Middle School West's Perpetual Reader display. (Photo by Mollee Francisco)
Students at Chaska Middle School East (CMSE) will try to read their way into the record books next Wednesday. As part of “I Love to Read” month, the school’s 690 students plus staff will attempt a reading relay. If successful, they could find themselves as the newest entry in the Guinness Book of World Records.

CMSE Assistant Principal Dr. Judy Nagel said the idea came from some of the school’s PTO members and was coordinated to co-incide with “I Love to Read” activities taking place Jan. 25 to Feb. 15. Students and staff will take turns reading one sentence at a time from Minnesota author Kurtis Scaletta’s “Mudville.” Scaletta will be on hand to participate in the world record attempt.

“It should be really, really fun,” said Nagel.

It will take more than 290 people to break the world record for most people in a reading relay of a single book. The record was last set in Vienna on Sept. 26, 2010.

Students and staff will each get their sentence ahead of time to practice for Wednesday’s event. Nagel is feeling good about their odds of breaking the record and believes it will be a point of pride for those involved.

“How cool to be a part of it,” she said.

The reading relay is just one of a handful of activities staff at CMSE has organized to celebrate reading. They kicked off the month with an appearance by KDWB’s morning show host Dave Ryan on Jan. 25 and continued with the introduction of their “Per-petual Reader” display on Feb. 1.

Staff of the school’s media center used the prominent windows overlooking the main commons area and stairway to create a sort of store window display where participants would be stationed and reading throughout school hours. A cozy room was created with curtains and a plush recliner and was accented with all the comforts of home from blankets and a candy bowl to doilies and a fake fireplace. Teachers, parents and even some community members readily signed up for the half-hour time slots in the display.

The “Perpetual Reader” display was designed to promote reading for both school and pleasure.

“Their lives get really busy in middle school,” said Nagel. “It’s important to encourage them to take time out to read.”

Victoria Mayor Mary Hershberger-Thun excitedly took her turn in the display last Friday. “I didn’t know whether to bring my iPad or the newspaper or a book,” the avid reader said.

Students are also using this reading-centric month to raise funds for the school by participating in a series of reading activities and going door-to-door to ask for donations. Their efforts replace magazine sales done in the past.

“We wanted to have more of an academic focus,” explained Nagel. “These are pure donations, not pledges.”

Students that turn in donations are entered into drawings to win from a selection of popular books including “The Hunger Games” trilogy and “Matched.”

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February 10, 2012
I see the Herald staff is acting as censor and deleting post. Great job
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