Everyone knows that exercise is good for the body, but students in the fourth grade at Sacred Heart Elementary have found that it is good for their brains as well, especially when it comes to increasing their reading comprehension.
Fourth grade teacher, AnnMarie Loredo began a Read and Ride Program in her classroom, which she credits for improving the frequency and duration of the students; desire to read as well as improving their reading comprehension and test scores.
“I follow some teacher’s blogs on Facebook and I saw something about this program where students spend a part of each class period reading their books while using a stationary bike.” Loredo said. “I thought it was a wonderful idea and something that wouldn’t require a large financial commitment on behalf of the district.
“I started to research the idea right after Christmas break and then pitched the idea to Mrs. Wilson (Holly Wilson assistant principal at SHS), Loredo added. “It wasn’t long before I spoke to the students and before long we had six bikes donated to the class.”
Loredo commented that not only are the students reading more but their test scores on the Accelerated Reader program have increased as well.
“The program has been a tremendous success for all of my students even those who were reluctant readers earlier in the year,” Loredo said. “In the time we have begun using the bikes, 95 percent of my students have made their AR goal which means they have met or exceeded their levels not just with their reading but their comprehension as well.”
Students have a dedicated reading time each morning when they take turns riding the bikes in 12-minute intervals.
If there is time throughout the day or at the end of the day, the students may spend additional minutes on the bikes.
“Everyone gets a chance on the bikes,” Loredo said. “The students even made a proposal to Mrs. Wilson to see if they could use some of the funds from our recent book fair to purchase three more bikes for our room.”
Loredo has 18 students this year, which would mean the students, could spend more time on the bikes, allowing half of the class to participate each time.
Students have taken ownership of both the proposal for the additional bikes by creating a video presentation seeking additional bikes and helping to mold the plan, Loredo added.
“We came up with a set of rules for riding the bikes that include no talking and not riding the bikes above walking speed,” Luke Jenkins a member of the class said. “It’s really helps us because we can improve our reading comprehension and we get to exercise while we read.”
Jenkins’ classmate, Mariah Van Leer agrees with him about the benefits to the program.
“It’s a really cool and fun program,” Van Leer said. “It’s really exciting to get to ride the bikes, at first I thought it would be distracting but it hasn’t been at all.
“It’s like the energy comes up to my brain and it helps me to focus more on what I am reading,” Van Leer added. “Before we started I was reading about 10 pages in 12 minutes, now I am up to 22 pages and my comprehension is improving too; I remember more of what I am reading now.”
Loredo has seen similar benefits in all her students.
“I have seen increased motivation and desire on the part of my students to read, but it has also improved their reading fluency and vocabulary and comprehension scores as well.” Loredo said. “I think it is a wonderful program that is a win-win for all of us.”
Eventually Loredo would like to see a room or a lab that could accommodate several bikes that teachers could sign their classes up to use.
“It’s a low cost program that has so many benefits and it doesn’t take much to maintain the equipment,” Loredo said. “I don’t think there is anything more inspiring or motivating as a teacher than to help promote the love of reading in students.”
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484