In an effort to get his students to read, Southold Elementary School fourth-grade teacher Skip Munisteri offered a challenge: Read 80 books in 80 days, and he would ride his bike from his home in Setauket to the Oaklawn Avenue school — all 41 miles, rain or shine.
His students completed the task with time to spare and so he kept his promise Friday, as he mounted his bike at 5:30 a.m., and braved the mist in order to make it to school on time.
Ten-year-old Tate Klipstein said the challenge was a team effort, and that each of the 20 students read at least two books, and some of them three. “I was proud of everybody,” he said.
The students only had two rules to follow: to read chapter books only, and to file a report for each book.
Emma DeTour, 9, said her favorite read was “Mark of Athena” by Rick Riordan.
“I thought it was a great book. It taught Greek mythology in a fun way,” she said. “It’s great that Mr. Munisteri can help us engage.”
The students lined up in the front of the school to cheer him on as he arrived, with parents joining in on the fun, bringing snacks for the celebration.
Martha Hansen, who’s son Bryce took part in the challenge, said the 17-year veteran teacher helped students choose books, catering to their different tastes.
“Mr. Munisteri makes him want to learn,” she said of her son. “He handpicked books for each kid and gives them individualized attention.”
After his ride, Mr. Munisteri, an avid cycler who rides about 30 miles a day, posed for photos with the students, asking them to keep the reading momentum going.
“Take time out to read this summer,” he told the students. “Remember, you can always do more, but you can never do less.”
See additional photos taken at the school Friday.