Mary Bryan Elementary
Riding to Rediscover Reading
Last year, I watched a national news story about schools purchasing stationary bikes for students to ride as they read silently in the classroom. I listened closely as teachers praised the increased reading scores of their students, but what I saw next has been the fuel behind my motivation to implement a similar project in Perry Township. Smiles radiated from the students’ faces as they described their changed outlook in regard to reading. The short clip made my wheels begin to turn. Immediately, I started researching the topic. Shortly into my research, I found an article about a program called “Read and Ride.” The program originated in a North Carolina elementary school about six years ago. Ward Elementary filled a room with a class size of exercise bicycles and dedicated it to raising reading scores. The room was available for the classroom teachers to share for 30-minute blocks at a time. Now the program has spread nationwide, and the data of student growth is astonishing. Perry Township Schools may not have extra rooms to dedicate as Ward Elementary did, but we can implement a similar program to assist students in building a lot and having appreciation for health of the body AND the mind. The grant proposal I am presenting is the purchase of four stationary exercise bicycles and four book caddies to be placed on the bikes. During the silent reading center of the reading block, four students at a time will have the opportunity to read a Reading Counts book while they ride on the bicycle. Within the reading week, each student in the classroom will receive time on the bicycle. In addition to the inclusion of bikes during the reading block, the exercise equipment will also be integrated into other small group activities, such as the math differentiated center of the quadrant model, the “You Do” of writing, and reading prep for science. The equipment will be available to other grade levels during the classroom’s special time, recess, and lunch upon request. Arrangements will also be available for students of the same grade level to access the equipment. With the change-up in the reading routine, I predict a change-up in students’ attitudes towards reading. Let’s work together to build not only fluency and comprehension growth, but also an enjoyment for one of the world’s oldest hobbies, reading.