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A very Seussical skydive

On a sunny day in May, Southside Elementary School physical education teacher Chris Meyer descended from 14,000 feet while reciting Dr. Seuss' words about the "grum grum" of a hippo chewing gum and the "pip" of a goldfish kiss.

Meyer's book recital, while strapped to professional skydiver Luke Aikens of Skydive Kapowsin, was the culmination of Southside Elementary School's Read Across America Day event. During March, students brought home reading logs and submitted them weekly. Together, they read for 32,290 minutes.

Fourth-grader Jack Haigh read the most minutes, and got to choose the book that was read by Meyer as he plummeted to earth. Southside School Board member Gigi Olsen hooked Meyer up with Aikens and Kapowsin.

Meyer said he got the idea from Rebecca Muir, a third-grade teacher in Virginia who did the same thing. He performed two solo skydives in 2010 and 2012, but this was his first tandem jump - and the first while reading a book aloud.

"I was hyper-focused on the iPad," said Meyer, a San Diego native who has worked for the district for four years. With the wind roaring as they dropped at 120 mph, Meyer recited lines about turtles snoring on logs and the "dibble dibble dibble dopp" of rain drops.

"I finished reading at a thousand feet," he said.

Meyer congratulated the students for their efforts.

"I wanted them to read," he said "I wanted to give them a challenge and find enjoyment in reading ... Kids can escape reality and immerse themselves in a book."

Students also guessed how many words he would recite correctly.

At a school assembly May 26, the students watched the video of the skydive reading. They then were invited to pick out a book to own and enjoy.

Author Bio

Gordon Weeks, Reporter

Shelton-Mason County Journal & Belfair Herald


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