Robyn Walls prepares to “walk the plank” of a makeshift pirate ship during a Thursday, March 7, 2019 celebration of the read-a-thon Paul Banks Elementary students did, at the school in Homer, Alaska. Students read roughly 196,000 minutes, surpassing their goal. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Robyn Walls prepares to “walk the plank” of a makeshift pirate ship during a Thursday, March 7, 2019 celebration of the read-a-thon Paul Banks Elementary students did, at the school in Homer, Alaska. Students read roughly 196,000 minutes, surpassing their goal. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Read up me hearties, yo ho

Paul Banks Elementary students celebrate read-a-thon

Paul Banks Elementary School students celebrated the end of a read-a-thon put on by the school in style, with eyepatches, feathered hats and plenty of swashbuckling.

The school rotates between multiple themes for its reading celebrations, and this year it was pirates.

Principal Eric Pedersen updated the students on the status of their “buckaroo” bucks which he held in a treasure chest.

Teacher Robyn Walls took one for the team by walking the plank of a makeshift cardboard pirate ship, much to the delight of the students who saw her jump off and immediately get slashed with water from buckets that were hiding behind the structure.

It was all in the name of literacy. The school’s read-a-thon went on for several weeks and encouraged the students to read both at Paul Banks and at home for as many minutes as possible.

Pedersen and secretary Katy Countiss said the school had set a goal of 150,000 reading minutes, and that the students surpassed that by reaching about 196,000.

Prizes were given out to the top readers from each grade. Other students got awards for raising the most money through the event, which also serves as a fundraiser for the school.

Countiss said the funds get spent on anything from transportation for field trips to software for the computers.

This year, students raised more than $5,300. That’s the most raised so far through the read-a-thon, Countiss said.

“I think the cool thing is, this time of year especially, our first graders really jump into the beginning readers,” he said. “Everybody’s focused on reading at home, they read in the classroom, and it just kind of draws the attention (to the) importance of reading.”

Pedersen said the read-a-thon helps bring young students back into the swing of things reading-wise after their holiday break.

“And they’re reading at home with their families, so it’s really promoting reading with families for those kids that can’t read on their own,” Countiss said.

Reach Megan Pacer at mpacer@homernews.com.

Paul Banks Elementary School Principal Eric Pedersen tells his students about how many minutes they managed to read during a celebration to the end of their read-a-thon Thursday, March 7, 2019 at the school in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Paul Banks Elementary School Principal Eric Pedersen tells his students about how many minutes they managed to read during a celebration to the end of their read-a-thon Thursday, March 7, 2019 at the school in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

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