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Experiment: Gym Class Helps Kids Read Better

Want to boost test scores in reading and math? Have kids exercise before tackling tough academic subjects.

It looks like all the school districts that have cut back or eliminated recess and physical education classes in order to spend more time on test prep are on the wrong track. According to results from a 3,000 student high school out in the Chicago suburb of Naperville, Illinois, putting students who struggle in reading and math into physical education classes can shrink waistlines and boost academic performance.

PBS NewsHour recently highlighted the innovative exercise program at Naperville Central High School where freshman and sophomores start their school day with 7:45 a.m. workouts. Teachers were skeptical when the brains behind the program, retired physical education coordinator Paul Zientarski, first came up with the idea six years ago, but the results are impressive.

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