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Several people asked me to report how my planned 24 hour Read In went.  For
the most part it was amazing.  I had about 50 students each hour during the
school day.  We had wrestling mats, pillows and beanbags and students could
bring personal size food and drink (not one spill)  No magazines, only
books.  The kids were perfect and we didn't even have to give them the old
evil eye!  One key was some really great background music that kept it from
being too silent.  My co-librarian called the whole thing eerie, it went so

At lunch we had about 45 kids.  We read 20 minutes and then had free pizza
and cake to celebrate Dr. Seuss' bday.  Our state Superintendent of Schools
was there to read with the kids.  (She is a former librarian who lives in

Between 3-9pm we only had a few kids each hour, though the boy's basketball
coach brought the whole team for an hour after school in lieu of practice!

I had about 35 kids turn in permission slips to spend the night and about 30
came.  About 5 (and I) stayed awake all night.  We had organized breaks
until about 1 am when more people started falling asleep.  After that I
would just motion to the ones awake about every 40 minutes and we'd go out
in hall to talk a while, go to restrooms etc.  We had pizza at 11 and
popcorn, cokes, coffee available all night.  Donuts, juice etc. for
breakfast.  The kids were perfect.  I had freshmen to seniors, several
special ed. and even 2 from our structured learning program (emotional
problems), boys and girls, National Honor society types--everyone was
perfect and seemed to have a good time. The other chaperones actually got a
good bit of sleep, but I felt like I should stay awake.

If I did it again I would eliminate the 3-10 pm.  Kids are just too sick of
school by Friday to want to do that.  35 would be about the maximum for
spending the night--they take a lot more room lying down than I thought!  I
would also try to split the night shift so I could get some sleep.  Believe
me by 3 am, I was counting the minutes!  I am way too old for an all

One reason the whole thing went so well is that the teachers who brought
their classes did some "practicing" in advance, so the kids understood what
it meant to just read for 40 minutes.  I think that was really important.

Anyway, it was a great success and we got a nice story in Saturday's paper.
With all the pa announcements, posters, flyers and a story in the school
paper, I think it really emphasized that reading is an ok activity even to
the kids who didn't directly participate.  Of our student body of about
1100, almost 500 participated though.

If you decide to try it, let the rest of us know how it goes.  Maybe we
secondary school libraries should all close on March 2 and have kids reading
in the library in every school in the country.  I am a big computer/tech
fan, but I think that would send a powerful message that recreational
reading is still absolutely what school libraries are about.

Vicki Sherouse, Librarian
Sentinel High School
Missoula, Montana

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