SPRING HILL — On Oct. 7, every Deltona Elementary School student heard The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats read to them.
The kindergarten students were treated to visiting readers from district offices. The first-through fifth-grade students watched the school's principal, Betty Harper, read on television screens in their classrooms.
The book was read to millions of children across the country on the same day as part of Jumpstart's Read for the Record.
Jumpstart is a nonprofit early childhood education organization that started the nationwide read-in in 2006. Past books were The Little Engine That Could (2006), The Story of Ferdinand (2007), Corduroy (2008) and The Very Hungry Caterpillar (2009).
Local kindergarten children were read to by superintendent Bryan Blavatt, assistant superintendent Sonya Jackson, School Board members Sandra Nicholson and John Sweeney, coordinator for parental involvement Ivette Vaquer-Mendoza, Title I supervisor Felita Lott and No Child Left Behind coordinator Beth Varn.
Nationally, the event was sponsored by the Pearson Foundation, a branch of the international media company Pearson. The foundation focuses on literacy, learning and teaching.
At Deltona, the event was coordinated and sponsored by Title I lead teacher Connie Doughton, parent educator Doris Tejada, computer lab manager Becky Whitcomb and the school's PTA.
Copies of The Snowy Day that were left with the classes were a gift from Doughton in memory of her mother, whom she lost this past year.
Blavatt was in a classroom he had visited during the first week of school and read to two groups, kindergarten teachers Jocelyn Craig's and Dana Covino's classes.
He chatted with the children, and told them that his grandson was in class in Kentucky reading the same book at the same time.
"The reason I wanted to come back (was because) you all were so nice to me,'' he told them. "You're very special."