If you know any students at Paul Banks Elementary School, don’t be surprised if you see them with nose in a book. The school began its annual read-a-thon this week, with a very unusual twist.
It’s a pretty typical Tuesday afternoon at Paul Banks Elementary School. All of the children have just finished lunch and are excited for recess. Before that, though, they are all called into the gym for a school-wide assembly. Inside, they are greeted by a very excited kindergarten teacher who wants to talk about space.
That’s right … space. It turns out two of the teachers were looking through a telescope mounted on the roof of the school when all of a sudden, they spotted what appears to be a new planet inhabited by alien life forms.
Then, a camera connected to the telescope allowed the Paul Banks kids to see the aliens.
The aliens didn't appear all that scary. And they looked an awful lot like a couple of other Paul Banks teachers. But their message, interpreted by an astronaut at Mission Control, was clear.
If the Paul Banks kids can read enough books, instructions on how to build a spaceship can slowly be sent to them on their home planet. When they get all of the instructions, they can zoom to Earth to meet the children.
And so it will be up to the students of Paul Banks, through their time spent reading books, to deliver the spaceship building instructions to the aliens.
Paul Banks teacher Wendy Todd says the idea for the read-a-thon came from her sister, who was trying something similar at her school in Maryland. Last year, the theme was the Wild West and the year before that? Pirates.
Todd says having a fun goal really helps the children build enthusiasm for reading.
A large model of the spaceship the aliens are building is mounted to the wall near the entry of the school. Right now, only the nose portion has been constructed. Todd says the ship, which kind of resembles the space shuttle, will slowly begin to take shape as the children read.
Todd says it will take a grand total of 125,000 minutes of reading to earn a visit from the aliens.
Hopefully, the visiting aliens will be nice and won’t, you know … try to enslave mankind or anything.