'Llama Llama Red Pajama' reading helps with world record

Oct 6 2011 - 11:36pm

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ERIN HOOLEY/Standard-Examiner 
Ogden High School senior Anail Martinon reads to students at Dee Elementary School in Ogden as part of the Read for the Record Day Jumpstart on Thursday. The goal of the program was to have 2 million people read “Llama Llama Red Pajama” by Anna Dewdney to students in elementary schools.
ERIN HOOLEY/Standard-Examiner 
Ogden High School sophomore Amber Fast makes a face as fellow student Anail Martinon reads a book to students at Dee Elementary School.
ERIN HOOLEY/Standard-Examiner 
Ogden High School senior Anail Martinon reads to students at Dee Elementary School in Ogden as part of the Read for the Record Day Jumpstart on Thursday. The goal of the program was to have 2 million people read “Llama Llama Red Pajama” by Anna Dewdney to students in elementary schools.
ERIN HOOLEY/Standard-Examiner 
Ogden High School sophomore Amber Fast makes a face as fellow student Anail Martinon reads a book to students at Dee Elementary School.

OGDEN -- Three thousand students in Ogden and Weber school districts did their part to set a world record Thursday, and all they had to do was listen.

Throughout the day, Ogden and Bonneville high school students read "Llama Llama Red Pajama" to classes at seven elementary schools.

The Ogden High School students are in the Future Educators of America program. Some Bonneville students also take part in that program, and some are enrolled in the Weber State University concurrent enrollment 1010 education class.

This is Ogden High's fourth year of participating in the national Read for the Record Day, sponsored the Pearson Foundation and the nonprofit Jumpstart, an organization that specializes in help for low-income students.

Ogden FEA adviser Suzie Davis heard about Read for the Record Day at a conference about four years ago and knew her students just had to participate.

"We always do it, and students absolutely love it," she said.

Bonneville High teacher Joan Iverson agrees, saying, "It helps make my students aware of how important early childhood education is."

Her students have participated in the record attempt for three years. Every year, both schools try to get more students read to than the year before.

After students listen as the book is read to them, teachers sign a log book of how many students participated.

For the high school students, it's about much more than the world record.

"I love being with the kids," OHS student Gladys Sanchez said, still holding the shiny book after reading to her fourth Polk Elementary class of the day. What made it even better for her is that she attended Polk when she was younger.

The other high school students who read at Polk were impressed by how much the children enjoyed the book written and illustrated by Anna Dewdney.

"Even the older kids have really gotten into it," Hannah Hernandez said.

The day turned out to be a special treat for her because she had attended the elementary school and was able to see some of her former teachers.

"Coming back today has been exciting," she said.

Fourth-grade teacher Connie Bennett loves that her class got to be part of the record-breaking day, and a bonus for her was seeing Hernandez back in her classroom.

"It's wonderful to have her come back and to see how successful she is," Bennett said. "And my students enjoyed the book. It's always an amazing thing to be part of breaking a record."

Alan Mendoza also got a special surprise. His eighth birthday was two days before the event, and he beamed as Sanchez handed him his own hardcover copy of "Llama Llama Red Pajama."

"I loved it when the mama llama was hugging him to help him go to sleep," he said with a grin.

Ogden High student Susuki Cortez said she enjoyed the interaction with the children as she asked questions about what she was reading. The process made her and her fellow students excited about a future in the classroom.

Davis said she encourages her high school students to engage the kids in extra interaction when possible, and she loves to hear her students' excitement when the children do get more involved.

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