Eagle Lake Elementary School students read books to earn a chance to win a new bike

Published 9:30 am Thursday, March 21, 2019

EDWARDSBURG — Eight lucky third graders at Eagle Lake Elementary school will be riding around on new wheels this summer thanks to the school’s annual Books for Bikes program.

The program, in its eighth year, is sponsored by the St. Peter’s Masonic Lodge of Edwardsburg and The Greater Niles Community Federal Credit Union.

Each third grader at the school is given the opportunity to read as many books as they can from March until the Friday before Memorial Day, to earn entries into the contest. Each time a student reads and reflects on ten books, the student earns an entry. There are no limits on the number of entries each student can earn. The winners of the contest win a new bicycle.

The contest was the idea of Mason Robert Parrish as a way to honor his late mother and her love of reading.

According to staff at Eagle Lake Elementary, the program has been a successful way to get young students excited about reading. Last year alone, approximately 400 second and third grade students at Eagle Lake checked out books more than 38,000 times in their library.

“We are all about reading here [at the school],” Eagle Lake Elementary School principal Deb Becraft said. “These are the grades where we solidify these reading skills.”

Becraft’s favorite part of the program is seeing the children reading and the excitement on the last day when the tickets are drawn and the bikes are presented to those lucky students, she said.

Ten bikes in total are donated from the Masonic Lodge, eight are given away to the readers, and the other two are given to two students who show exemplary citizenship in class. Teachers nominate five or six students that show these traits and those names are thrown into another bucket for a drawing.

The Greater Niles Credit Union provides helmets for the bike winners and beverages for all the contestants. Students are also treated to donuts on the day of the drawing, which they look forward to all spring, Becraft said.