by Bridget Constantine
The Mission: Literacy program started back up at the Manitowoc Corps this past summer with the goal of targeting literacy issues in our local community. Summer reading loss can easily be avoided by children simply reading a few books over summer and working to strengthen basic literacy skills.
In utilizing the first volume, which has six different Bible stories, numerous volunteers navigated the curriculum with 22 different students, all of whom avoided summer reading loss as a result. The short stories included those of creation, Adam and Eve, Noah and the flood, the tower of Babel, Jonah and the big fish, and the wisdom of King Solomon. Throughout each lesson there’s opportunity to incorporate sharing the gospel with both volunteers and students.
To wrap up the program, I held a review day for the students, where each of the Bible stories were revisited in fun ways while sharing the gospel as it related to each story. The students created an object lesson to take home with them, each helping to retell the Bible stories to their friends and family, while reviewing what we learned.
For the story of creation, each student took home a potted flower to remind them of the amazing God who created life. Students made their own snake sock puppets, complete with a piece of fruit, to illustrate Adam and Eve’s tragic fall into sin, reminding us all of our need for a Savior. Using a lump of clay, students designed their own boats, filling them with animals two by two, which depicted Noah’s ark that provided salvation from the flood. Noah even paid a visit to help tell the story! Each family received their own Jenga tower game to remind of the importance of focusing on the Lord instead of living pridefully. Remembering how Jonah disobeyed God and was swallowed by a big fish, each person played ping-pong toss with fish bowls and brought home their very own not-so-big pet fish. Learning about the wisdom of King Solomon, children made their own gospel-colors bracelet to illustrate the wisest decision we could ever make. The dark bead reminded us of sin; the red bead reminded us of Jesus’ shed blood; the clean bead reminded us of being cleansed from sin when we ask Jesus for forgiveness; yellow reminded us of the golden streets of heaven; and green reminded us of the ways we can grow in Jesus, by reading God’s Word, praying, going to church, and sharing our faith with others.
Overall, the summer was successful in helping children understand the gospel from various perspectives throughout the Bible, all while having fun and strengthening literacy skills.