When five Perkins Lower School students took turns reading the book “Bunny Cakes” aloud to an auditorium filled with fellow students and teachers on October 21, they weren’t just sharing a good story. They were trying to set a new world record.
They were taking part in Read for the Record, a global effort to get an unprecedented number of children and adults reading the same book on the same day. In all, 77 Perkins students and staffers joined what has been called “the world’s largest shared reading experience,” trying to beat last year’s record of more than 2.4 million participants.
The Read for the Record activity got Perkins students excited about books and reading, said Perkins Library Director Kim Charlson, who hosted the event.
“Reading out loud is a great thing for kids,” she said. “It builds skill. It helps them perform for an audience and learn to speak up. And it spurs them to read stories themselves.”
The students read “Bunny Cakes” by Rosemary Wells from a variety of sources, including braille books, large print books, electronic notetakers with refreshable braille displays and more.
Read for the Record is sponsored by Jumpstart, a national organization that prepares children in low-income neighborhoods for kindergarten by helping them develop literacy skills. Jumpstart is expected to announce on October 27 whether this year’s effort broke the existing record.
“Bunny Cakes” is a picture book written primarily for preschoolers. It tells the story of a young bunny trying to figure out how to write a grocery list so he can make a birthday cake for his grandmother.
Perkins students last participated in Read for the Record several years ago, reading “Charlotte’s Web” to commemorate the 50th anniversary of its printing.