Dominicans Read 1,000 Hours Straight



The Dominican Republic has done it again – it broke the record for hours of consecutive reading.  

The Caribbean nation had already broken the record last year, reading aloud for over 240 hours, smashing a record originally held by students from South Florida's Miami-Dade College. According to the Associated Press report, this year's reading marathon in the Dominican Republic concluded this past Monday with a total of 1,000 hours of reading and was attended by Judge Johanna Smith from Guinness World Records.

Judge Smith recorded 930 people participating from different locations within the country. Participants took turns reading aloud from the Bible and the National Constitution of the Dominican Republic, starting on the 20th of February; even President Leonel Fernández took part in the event which lasted 42 days.

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During those 42 days that the marathon lasted, the Bible was read 10 times and the Constitution was read a total of 210 times. President Fernández, the last participant, concluded the marathon on April 2nd at the National Palace by reading for 15 minutes from the National Constitution.

The marathon was held under the theme "Por amor a Dios y a la Patria", (in English: "For the love of God and Country"), in 55 cities across the nation with the participation of students chosen by schools and churches. Franklin Rodríguez, the Minister of Youth who organized the marathon to encourage reading, called it "an unprecedented effort in national history."

According to The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), elementary school students in many Latin American and Caribbean countries have been taught good penmanship without an emphasis on comprehension. USAID programs in place for over a decade in the region now focus on early literacy.

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The USAID website explains that "in the Dominican Republic nearly three of every four third graders scored at the lowest level (1 of 5) on the UNESCO reading test."

Certainly, marathons like the one organized this year which encourage children to read, are a very big step in the right direction.

Tracy López is a bilingual writer living outside the Washington DC metro area. She is the founder of

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Tracy López is a bilingual writer living outside the Washington DC metro area. She is the founder of


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