Lansing Christian invites community members to join in reading week
By Ashlee De Wit
LANSING, Ill. (January 7, 2023) – Police officers, firefighters, town officials, business owners, grandparents, pastors, and others all took turns reading to Lansing Christian students as part of the school’s reading week.
Just returned from their Christmas break, students were eased back into their school routine with comfy clothes and stories from community members.
Reading week origins
It all started with a group of eighth graders who wanted to wear their pajamas to school. During the school’s November spirit week, the oldest students asked their principal for not just a pajama day, but a whole week.
“I talked with Amy Miedema [the school librarian] and we thought we could combine it with a reading week,” Principal Matt Kamien said. “It would be fun and educational, and we could get the community involved in reading time.”
He reached out to both the Lansing Chamber of Commerce, of which he is a board member, and to The Lansing Journal to find reading volunteers. Miedema contacted the school’s families to find willing grandparents and pastors.
“We thought it would be good for the students to see community members — police and pastors, even their grandparents — outside their normal roles,” Miedema said. “During COVID, we [staff and students] were lucky to be here at school, but no one else was let in, not even parents. So it’s really nice to be able to invite people into the building again.”
On Thursday, Cornerstone Church’s Director of Children’s Ministries Kandi Elliott read two stories to the pre-K students (three- and four-year-olds). She saw an ad in The Lansing Journal asking for reading week volunteers, and since she has known a number of LCS students through Vacation Bible School at the church, she decided to sign up.
Police Chief Al Phillips not only read to, but also answered countless questions and comments from curious first graders on Friday morning. Randall Wright of the Lansing Fire Department taught kindergarteners about fire safety through “Arthur’s Fire Drill.” Melanie Jongsma and Josh Bootsma of The Lansing Journal shared the story of an aspiring journalist with a fourth and fifth grade class.
Mayor Patty Eidam also attended the event on Friday morning; it’s one of the most fun things she gets to do in her elected position, she said.
“I get asked to read to classes a few times a year, and I always look forward to it,” she said.
She read to third-graders from Abby Huntsman’s book, Who Will I Be?, her go-to for reading in schools.
“Someone gave it to me three or four years ago, and it’s about a little girl whose mom is the mayor. It mentions police officers as well — it was an easy choice,” she said.
Older students in the school — the sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-graders — were read to by community members on Thursday and Friday afternoons. The older students also had a chance to read to children in younger grades earlier in the week.
For more information about Lansing Christian School, located at 3660 Randolph Street, visit lansingchristian.org.