The Bikes for Books program kicked off with an assembly at Wells Elementary School on April 11. From left are members of Masons Ocean Lodge #142 with Wells Elementary Principal April Noble. They include Ken Creed, Noble, Tim Yates, Wayne Smith, John Howarth (with the microphone) and Todd Burnett.  COURTESY PHOTO/Reg Bennett

WELLS ─ The Grand Lodge of Masons in Maine and the Maine Masonic Charitable Foundation are once again sponsoring their annual “Masonic Bikes for Books” literacy program to motivate more reading among elementary students and encourage healthy outside exercise.

For the fourth consecutive year, Masonic Ocean Lodge #142 in Wells is bringing the program to Wells Elementary School. This year, the organization will give away 54 brand-new bicycles along with helmets and T-shirts to boys and girls from each of the school’s early kindergarten through fourth-grade classrooms.

Over a designated period of time, students will read books that interest them. Each book read will allow a student to enter a drawing for a bicycle.

The more books read, the greater the chance of winning a bike when names are drawn in each classroom in June.

“Evidence shows that schools participating in the program are witnessing improved reading scores among their students,” notes the Maine Masonic Charitable Foundation on its website.  “Books also enlighten, inspire, bring happiness and success, challenge our perspectives and provide comfort at difficult times in our lives.”

According to this website, 90 Masonic lodges in Maine in just one year donated 3,000 bikes to elementary students.

At WES this program is being coordinated with Ocean Lodge 142 by Literary Specialist Bonnie Esty.

In the Bikes for Books brochure, the program is listed as a statewide initiative “to foster literacy programs in local schools and encourage healthy exercise.”

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