Combining Education and Exercise: Ward Elementary School's Read and Ride Program
The Read and Ride Program held at Ward Elementary in Winston-Salem was first developed by Scott Ertl. Ertl, who has been the counselor for 18 years, is always trying to come up with new things that can be done to help kids learn and feel better in school and in life.
Ertl started the Read and Ride Program in 2009, and explained there are two focuses for the program:
- To promote literacy and make reading fun for kids
Reading can be frustrating, and the more frustrating it is, the less fun it becomes. By riding bikes while reading, the kids can stay calm and even understand more while they read. It also makes reading more fun.
- To prevent childhood obesity
By participating in the Read and Ride Program, the kids at have one more opportunity to be active and exercise during the school day.
As the school counselor, Ertl works with kids who are overweight and don’t like to participate in PE class or games at recess because they feel down about themselves. With the stationary bikes, there is no competition or last place. They can take a breather and relax for a minute with no shame about stopping. Ertl says having your own stationary bike also allows you to pace yourself, and do what you can.
At Ward Elementary, there is a Read and Ride classroom with 30 stationary exercise bikes. Teachers can bring their class to this classroom, and allow students to Read and Ride for 10-15 minutes. This is a great outlet when the weather is bad and outside recess is not an option. The room is also used for teacher’s bonus periods, and the kids see it as a reward to Read and Ride.
In addition, Ward Elementary has stationary bikes in the corner of seven different classrooms - teachers use the classroom bikes as motivation, and the kids love it!
For more information on the Read and Ride Program, click here. For the Fast Company story and photos click here. There are many forms of active learning, including yoga balls, stand-up desks, and bouncy bands. http://bouncybands.com/