“Building and Connecting Families Through Reading” – This is the motto behind the first Spring Reading Cup being hosted by City of Faith Christian Center in Lakewood. Launched last month and ending on June 1, the program challenges students at four area schools to compete for who can read the most books and win some great prizes.
City of Faith church members Minyona Mason and Jacquelyn Williams are heading up the Spring Reading Cup that focuses on 3rd-5th graders at Tyee Park Elementary School, Tillicum Elementary School, Lakeview Elementary School and City of Faith Kingdom Kidz.
Each student gets to pick how many books they want to challenge themselves to read, and they get points for each book read during the challenge. Individual prizes will be given to readers with the most points: a Tablet computer for 1st place, and 2nd and 3rd place winners can choose between reading games, a small book collection or a journal and pen. The school that reads the most books will get a trophy. Every student who participates will receive a little keepsake for taking part in the challenge.
The Spring Readers Cup is built on three main pillars: supporting literacy development to encourage young learners to increase their language, writing skills and reading comprehension; building vocabulary through reading different types of books to broaden students’ knowledge of words and their use; and increasing student confidence so they can reach higher and build trust within themselves.
The idea for the reading challenge came from City of Faith Pastor Kevin Rogers who is always coming up with creative ideas to lift up the community.
“Our pastor has a big vision for kids and community and Jacque and I are going to help build his vision for the children in our community,” Mason said. “It’s really important that we’re creating opportunities to help build new leaders and bring hope to the youth of this generation, giving them a space to dream big.”
Dreaming big is a purposeful aspect of the reading challenge in that reading can help young students see beyond their own world into a bigger universe full of possibilities and hope.
“This is our way of being that helping hand in community and being a good support system for our children especially after the pandemic when we saw a lot of teachers quit and education took a hard hit,” Mason said. “We need to prepare our kids in thinking outside the box because it allows you to dream, imagine and create.”
Williams shared two scriptures that illustrate and inspire the spirit behind the Spring Reading Cup. Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go: And when he is old, he will not depart from it,” and Psalms 127:3-4, “Children are a gift from the Lord. They are a reward from him. Children born to a young man are like arrows to a warrior’s hand.”
“Both of those scriptures really fit so well,” Mason said. “We have to equip our children with skills, to lead and guide them so that we can have a better world.”
Mason and Williams are both educators by profession. Mason earned a Master of Science-Biotechnology from Rush University and a Bachelor of Science in Community Health from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She has more than 15 years of teaching in the classroom and as a tutor at all levels. Williams received her Bachelor of Science in psychology and counseling at Texas A&M University-Commerce and she is currently working on her master’s in teaching special education. She is a certified guest teacher for the Clover Park School District with more than nine years of experience.
“The Spring Reading Cup is a great opportunity to tie us back together and remind people that we are here for our multicultural individuals and families,” Williams said. “No matter who you are or where you are, we’re here.”
Go to bit.ly/readerscup for all the information about the Spring Reading Cup. Awards and prizes for this year’s challenge will be given at the City of Faith Christian Center Back to School Bash this August. Schools are invited sign up for next year’s challenge. Contact City of Faith Christian Center at [email protected], call (253) 722-5265 and visit cityoffaithcc.org.