A world record may have been broken yesterday in about two minutes using 220 spoken words.
More than a half-million people across the United States, including about 320 students and staff at Indian Hills Elementary in Rossford, were doing the same thing at the same time yesterday: reading aloud the same passage from E.B. White's 1952 classic Charlotte's Web.
After results are verified, the United States could hold the Guinness World Record for "most people reading aloud simultaneously in multiple locations."
There were 547,826 people who signed up to read the passage where Wilbur the pig meets Charlotte the spider for the first time.
At noon EST, the students, educators, librarians, and fans of the book simultaneously read the passage beginning with Charlotte greeting Wilbur by shouting, "Salutations!"
The passage ends with Wilbur telling Charlotte she's beautiful.
If the feat is accomplished, it would dwarf the record held by the United Kingdom, where 155,528 people from 737 schools throughout the country read William Words-worth's poem "Daffodils" to accomplish that record March 19, 2004.
Certification documents for the United States' attempt are due in January. Final results should be available by March.
After reading the passage from a battered copy of the book borrowed from a library, fourth grader Danny Schmenk, 9, said he actually was on chapter 10 of the book. The event had sparked his interest in reading it a second time. "I'm going to hope we do beat Great Britain. But if we don't, I'll still have that in my mind that I had fun reading that passage with everyone in the school," he said.
That's just what educators at Indian Hills were hoping to accomplish. "We will do anything we can to get the kids excited to learn and read," Principal Holly Schmidbauer said.
There were 14,398 people in Ohio and 8,322 in Michigan who signed up to help break the record. More than 1,000 of the Ohio participants were students and staff of Vermilion City Schools in Erie County, and more than 220 of those in Michigan were from St. John the Baptist Catholic School in Monroe.