NISKAYUNA — The nocturnals gathered at Iroquois Middle School on Jan. 10.
They brought cow pajamas, blankets, pillows and sleeping bags. They also brought their favorite books.
A total of 101 students in grades six through eight participated in the school's 12th annual readathon and helped a noble cause.
"It's designed to raise money for the Double H Ranch in Luzerne," said Lynn Connors, a school reading teacher who coordinates the event with felllow reading instructor Michelle Bonczkowski. "The kids bring in donations, they ask family and friends."
The ranch, a project co-founded by Charles R. Wood and Paul Newman, provides specialized programs and support for children and their parents dealing with life-threatening illnesses. This year, Iroquois kids raised $5,700; during the past 12 years, students have donated $57,000 to the ranch.
Connors said fantasy books were popular choices for the 2020 readathon. Some page boys brought graphic novels; one page girl brought her illustrated history of ballet.
"They could be Christmas presents, they could have been recommended by teachers," Connors said.
Kids started at 7 p.m., and were as quiet as owls as the first 40-minute segment began — with a video of a roaring fireplace playing on the cafeteria stage.
Students received a 20-minute break at 7:40 p.m., then began their second 40-minute study hall at 8 p.m. The readers paused again at 8:40 p.m. — snacks such as cookies, chips and soft drinks were served — and returned at 9 p.m. for a 20-minute finale.
"The goal is to read for 100 minutes," Connors said.
Students said they appreciated the chance to raise money for the Double H. "Also, it's a fun, family friendly event," said Callan Stabler, 12, a sixth-grader.
Other sixth-graders agreed.
"It's fun to read and you get the chance to run around during the breaks," added Haley Garrett, 12.
Monica Vato, 11, said students stuck to their reading during the sessions. But she admitted kids also could play around for a minute for two when books were open. "Maybe a little," she smiled.
"You get to do something with your friends on a Friday night and I really like reading," said Aidan Ford, 11.
Ford was booking during his first readathon. He said he'll upgrade his comfort level next year.
"All I brought was a blanket, that was not smart," he said. "The floor is hard."
"It's great reading for a cause," said Caroline Kruggel, 11.
Frank Adamo, who teaches English to eighth-graders, brought in a hammock and joined kids in the reading exercise.
"This is awesome," he said. "Kids have so much going on ... it proves they can and want to read."