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Books, bikes, and summer fun!
Thanks to the generosity of a local civic organization, district elementary students will soon have a fun incentive to encourage summer literacy and learning!
The Centennial Masonic Lodge #25 recently donated two new bicycles to each elementary school in the Snohomish School District. The program, Bikes for Books, was designed to encourage beginning readers to read during the summer months.
This is the fourth year the Snohomish Masonic Fraternity has donated the Bikes for Books bicycles to Snohomish elementary students. The local Centennial Masonic Lodge #25 is a part of the Snohomish Masonic Fraternity and is a part of the Freemasons in Western Washington.
Through Bikes for Books, the local Masons work with a local Fred Meyer to acquire new children’s bicycles at a discounted rate. They then deliver the bikes to district elementary schools. Schools design their own programs for how the bikes will be awarded. Some schools hold essay contests, while others host raffles for things such as completing summer reading logs. Others are utilized at district summer school programs.
“Our lodge believes reading skills are the foundation of a successful education and should begin in elementary schools,” said Jack Houston of the Centennial Masonic Lodge. Houston has been an active member of the Masons for many years and has been a strong proponent of growing the Bikes for Books program. Throughout the past decade, he has rallied other Freemasons in Western Washington lodges to get involved. “We want to encourage kids in kindergarten through grade 6 to read more books.”
But why bicycles? “We believe this is a great way to encourage physical exercise,” said Houston. He added that local police and fire departments often provide bike helmets and bike safety talks at the schools when the bikes are awarded. “We also value the positive civic awareness this creates for our community's young students.”
District elementary principals note that the program provides a fun incentive for district students. When students see the bicycles on display at the schools you can often see the excitement in their eyes. The incentive encourages many students who are ready for vacation to grab a book and engage in learning when heading out for summer.
“We are so fortunate to have an organization such as the Masons who provide such terrific opportunities for our students,” said Snohomish School District Superintendent Dr. Kent Kultgen. “Through their generosity, this program helps promote the love of reading and academic success through a positive incentive program.”
Learn more about the Masons in Washington by visiting www.freemason-wa.org.