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Bike giveaway encourages kids to read

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CHARLO — The entirety of the Charlo Elementary sat anxiously in front of the school on Thursday, anticipating the winners of the third annual bike giveaway.

Elementary principal Clair Rasmussen tormented the eager children by prolonging the process of selecting two names from the drawing. 

After energetic chanting from some of the young scholars, two names were finally selected and first-grader Roper Edwards and second-grader Cholie Hennifin became this year’s lucky recipients of the brand new bikes.

This year marks the third year that the school has used the bike giveaway to encourage reading outside the classroom. For every 15 minutes a child reads, he or she gets one ticket to enter into the drawing. 

“Our kids really enjoy it,” Rasmussen said. “And they get a reward at the end of their work.”

For Charlo, the bike giveaway is easily incorporated into their Reading First curriculum, which encourages children to read at home with their parents and by themselves. And the bike giveaway continues to be a community effort as the Montana Masons have donated the bikes every year.  

Edwards, who will be riding the bike to his cousin’s house all summer, has been practicing all year on his old bike in anticipation of winning the new bike. 

Since the competition began in April, the first-grader has read 31 books to his parents and himself.  

Some kids like Edwards were inspired to read because of the reward, but for others like fourth-grader Logan Mock, reading has developed into quite a little habit. The fourth-grader read 100 hours in an attempt to win the bike, but to no avail. 

Though other students may have read more, Rasmussen described this year’s winners as two very deserving students. He noted that last year, Brooklyn Foust won for the second year in a row. Foust is now a fourth-grader and Rasmussen expressed relief the he didn’t draw her name for yet another year — and a third bike. 

“Some kids read for the prize,” Rasmussen said. “And some read for the enjoyment.”

But either way, the bike giveaway works like a charm to get kids reading. 

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