Oregon City Masons sponsor Books for Bikes reading contest
by: Susie Werner, Winners of the Books for Bikes drawing at Gaffney Lane Elementary School were sixth grade student Logan Endicott and Aviana Palaoro, a second grader. Mike Churchill, middle, represents the Oregon City Masonic Lodge, the sponsor of the event.

Bicycles and books might not seem to be compatible, but if the thought of winning a bicycle gets kids to read, that makes a difference.

It made a huge difference for Gaffney Lane Elementary School students Logan Endicott, a sixth grader, and second grader Aviana Palaoro, who won bicycles in the Books for Bikes event, sponsored by the Oregon City Masons.

Aviana has decided to donate her bike to an organization that gives bicycles to needy children.

'Historically the Masons have always supported education and the community,' said Mike Churchill, a senior steward of the Oregon City Masons, noting that the organization has been sponsoring Books for Bikes, a reading program, for years.

This is the first year that the Oregon City Masons offered Gaffney Lane the chance to participate in the reading program, and supplied bicycles as grand prizes; one for a boy and one for a girl.

Students in all the grade levels, from kindergarten through sixth grade, read books appropriate for their reading levels the last eight weeks of school, said Susie Werner, the media assistant at Gaffney Lane.

'We did not give them a specific list of books, because our goal was just to get them to read,' she said. All the students kept a log, writing down the title of each book and the author, and then an adult had to sign off on the log, verifying that the young people indeed read the books, Werner said.

The bicycles were displayed in a showcase in the office at the school to motivate the students to continue reading, and at intervals, teachers and the principal rode the bikes through the halls and cafeteria to keep the momentum going, she noted.

On Wednesday, May 30, Werner and a reading specialist collected all the logs, and then verified that 157 students had read books at their reading level. All their names were placed in a hat for the drawing, held on June 1.

Werner hopes that this program can continue next year.

'I am thrilled to have the community involvement,' Werner said. 'That a civic organization would step in and do things like this is amazing.'

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