These St. Helens Elementary Super Stars have an amazing thing in common: Each read at least 1,000 pages between January and May!
They had plenty of incentive: The more pages they read, the more tickets they could enter in a drawing for four bikes from the Longview Masonic Lodge’s Bikes for Books program, which serves several Longview schools.
Plus, when the recordkeeping ended, St. Helens media specialist Katy Olson determined which 25 students had read the most pages overall. At a yearend assembly, those students received personalized handmade wooden treasure boxes with a book inside.
“I feel really, really happy that I got the box,” says student reader Angelica.
The boxes were made by Bob James, a retired Kelso schoolteacher, who has been making them for family, school and community groups for the past seven years. James’ older brother and sister attended St. Helens in the 1930s.
“I wanted to give back to the community—something for what I had received from my many years of teaching and the education of my own five children in the Kelso School District,” James says, explaining that he began by offering the box incentive to students in Kelso schools and expanded to include St. Helens and Robert Gray in Longview.
“Most everyone likes to receive something,” James observes, “and especially if they have earned it.”
Adults might be interested to know that participants in the Winter Adult Reading Program at Cowlitz County libraries have a chance to win a treasure box and can enjoy a similar thrill, like Ryan at St. Helens.
“I am so happy to get this,” Ryan says. “I’m so glad that he took the time to make them for us.”
(Former) Principal Nikki Reese says both students and staff are grateful for community involvement at her school.
“Whether it’s our volunteers who read weekly with students, Bob James donating handmade boxes or the Masonic Lodge donating bikes, it all makes a positive difference in the lives of our students,” she says. “It is clear the Longview community cares very much about its youngest members!”