Shalom Readers can be FUN!
Here are some ideas from Rachelle Luitjens, leader of Shalom Readers at Sugar Creek Mennonite Church in Wayland, IA.
1. Incorporate Shalom Readers Club into Sunday School. There are many books on the list that add to the Shine On lessons. Read once a week and be done in 7 weeks, or once a month and be done in one school year.
2. Incorporate Shalom Readers Club into VBS. Again, the books go great with the VBS lessons each year.
3. Read the books during your mid-week children's programs. For example, if you use the Kids Can Club series, there is a book list in the curriculum and many of the books listed are on the Shalom Readers Club list.
4. Read some of the shorter books for children's story time in church.
5. Make the projects interesting for older kids. Brainstorm with them about what to do for a project.
6. Motivate kids with an ice cream party to celebrate at the end. It's amazing how much ice cream (or something similar) can motivate a kid! And a bonus? It's a really easy "party" to do after church one Sunday. Invite parents to enjoy the ice cream with their children.
7. Remind older kids that a lot of the books they read for school are on the reading list. Ask them throughout the year what they've read and check the list with them. They might be completing their reading without even realizing it. Older kids tend to have enough reading to do throughout the school year without adding extra, so this is a great way to take part of SC and show them that peace can be learned in many ways.
8. Make Shalom Readers Club into a fun summer reading program.
9. Use a reading chart for younger kids--they love to see their own progress.
10. Give a bookmark to each child and have them record the books they've read on the bookmark.
Promoting Shalom Readers!
These are creative ways you can promote Shalom Readers in your congregation!
1. Use the church bulletin and/or congregational newsletter to introduce Shalom Readers to your congregation.
2. Speak directly with parents of children in preschool through middle school; visit parents’ Sunday School classes.
3. Use the children’s Sunday School worship, opening, or closing time to explain how Shalom Readers works.
4. Have a kick-off event for families (e.g. pizza for lunch after church) during which children can be enrolled and parents informed about how the program works. Have another event at the end of the program to celebrate the accomplishments of the children.
5. Publish the names of those children who have participated, along with the title which they chose as the reward, in your church newsletter. Or, present the reward book to the child during a worship service or Sunday School opening.
6. Have participants tell their Sunday School or mid-week club classmates about a book they have read.
7. Read one of the books during children’s time in a Sunday morning worship service, to a group of children before Sunday School, as a part of Sunday School, or before choir practice.
Making the Most of Shalom Readers!
1. Work with the church librarian to purchase Shalom Readers titles for the church library. In the library, designate a special Shalom Readers shelf, or highlight the Shalom Readers books with a brightly colored sticky dot.
2. Start a children’s program promoting peace and justice by reading books, playing cooperative games and doing service activities.
3. Incorporate Shalom Readers into your existing mid-week children's ministry.
4. Pick a month to have a Read-A-Thon or make Shalom Readers a summer reading program.
5. Small groups with children can use Shalom Readers in any number of ways: read the books with the children as a group or have the children read the books on their own during small group.
6. Use this program as an outreach to community children; for example, offer an after-school reading hour. Invite children whose families do not attend your church but who attend your Bible School or mid-week kids club.
7. The youth and children can read books together then work together on a creative response.