The best way to improve reading scores? Fill a classroom with stationary bikes.
Image via Read and Ride
If you’ve ever been within 50 feet of a first-grader, you’ll know one thing: they like to move. A lot. Reading, however, is a bit more of a challenge, which is why elementary school teacher Scott Ertl came up with a brilliant idea. Instead of forcing kids to read quietly in a corner, Ertl stationed a bunch of donated bikes in a classroom, and had his students cycle while they read. The results?
Amazing, of course.
Known as “Read and Ride,” Ertl’s initiative seems to have already had a real impact. According to Upworthy, students who participated in the program saw a real increase in reading scores on statewide tests. And while the results may be significant, the model is deceptively simple (and brilliantly strange). Students simply pick up a book or magazine, hop on a bike, and for the next 20 minutes, read silently. As they exercise their bodies, they’re also able to exercise their—you’ve got it—brains.
When Ertl first came up with the idea, he was optimistic, but not convinced: “I bet a bunch of kids would find it fun to read while exercising... we could get some exercise bikes and give it a shot.” Now, “Read and Ride” had been replicated informally in 30 states, and the trend appears to be growing. To learn more about the organization or to donate a bike, check out their website here.