Sunday, January 5, 2014

Manchester School and the Masons get pumped about reading - By Michelle Libby

The Presumpscot Masonic Lodge #70 in conjunction with teachers Deb Ledoux and Jessica Carle from Manchester School put together a literacy day that celebrated the reading successes students had at school and at home. Eight lucky students were chosen at random to receive bicycles and helmets donated by the Masons through the Bikes for Books program. All students who read and turned in a log sheet were eligible for the drawing. 
“This is just the beginning,” said Walter Lamb, head of the Masons in Windham. “I’d love to give (a bike) to every student.”

The energy at the school was electric and teachers were impressed at how well behaved their students were days before winter break. Twenty-six guest speakers, visitors from Senator Susan Collins office and former teachers to our local constituents and Sherriff Kevin Joyce, were asked to read to students and were spread out amongst the classrooms and throughout the day. 

“Today is all about reading and literacy,” said Lamb. “The students were encouraged to read over and above what they read in school. The more they read the more proficient they will be.”

The Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Maine A. James Ross was at the school during the day and also read to a classroom. The Grand Lodge matched the funds raised in the Presumpscot Lodge, which will help provide seed money for next year, Lamb said. He would like to see this program expanded to Jordan Small Middle School in Raymond

Other events that took place were a book swap, organized by Jessica Carle’s fifth grade class, which is part of their community day project. Every student in the school received a book. The students also made signs and announcements every day leading up to the literacy day. 
The students who received bicycles were fourth grade girls Arianna Woodbury and Julia Kaplan. Fourth grade boys were Colt Riebe and Landon Smuck. The fifth grade girls were Olivia Elder and Anna Becker and the fifth grade boys were Ryan Mendez and Dustin Noonan. 

Walmart also helped with the bikes, Lamb said. They put them together and helped load them before transport. “It was an extremely pleasant experience and people to deal with,” said Lamb. 

Many of the guest readers chose holiday stories, like “Silver Packages” which was read by Sherriff Joyce. Senator Gary Plummer read “The Cremation of Sam McGee” hoping to entice the audience with poetry.
Lamb’s goal for next year is to have 30 bicycles to give away. He admits it’s a lofty goal, but he said, “You’ve got to reach. You can’t do anything if you can’t read.”

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