Library Incentive Program for Elementary Grade Church School Students

By Cheryl Pituch and Aristea Zekios

The Library Incentive Program, designed for children in grades 2 through 6, promotes the reading of Christian literature at home with positive reinforcement from parents and teachers alike.

The purpose of this program is

  • to promote the enjoyment of reading Christian literature, especially material dealing with Christian values, on their
  • to address our children's vital need to have role models and "super heroes" other than the ones on afternoon cartoon shows,
    the strange parade of rock stars on MTV, and the others on prime-time television
  • to encourage and provide independent Christian study " a discipline we need to teach our children.

Here's How It Works
Religious children's books, especially those which deal with Christian values or "applied faith", should be selected, purchased and placed in an easily-accessible location. (Check local religious bookstores which have a wide variety of literature for this age group.) Each group should be coded with colored dots indicating reading level and length.

Church school teachers or staff members should select a wide range of inexpensive gifts appropriate for children within this age group. Each gift should be wrapped and also coded with a corresponding colored dot.

Now, here's what the teacher should do:

  • Encourage each student to sign out a book
  • After a student completes a book, ask him or her to present a short oral or written report to the class
  • Permit the student to select a gift with the same color dot as the completed book
  • Whether students do a great job on their reports is unimportant. As long as the teacher determines that the book was indeed read and the main theme understood, the student should be rewarded for his or her efforts

This program should always remain optional. No student should be forced to participate, but all should be encouraged to try at least once or twice during the school year, as well as during the summer months.

Cheryl Pituch and Aristea Zekios are Church School teachers at the newly established Saint Luke the Evangelist Orthodox Church, Palos Hills, Illinois.

Taken from the OCA Resource Handbook for Lay Ministries