Most of the news coming out on children’s health is not that encouraging. Statistics like childhood obesity has tripled since 1980, 18 percent of adolescents are overweight and over 10 percent of younger preschool children between ages 2 and 5 are overweight. Add to this that more than 8 million American children in grades 4 to 12 struggle to read, write and comprehend adequately.
These are not good-looking numbers for our younger generation.
But a new children’s health program called “Read and Ride” is doing its part to encourage kids to become more active and better readers. Started in North Carolina at Marvin Ward Elementary School, Read and Ride works with elementary schools, teachers and community members to fulfill its mission of reducing obesity and improving literacy among young American students.
Here’s how the program works: Teachers bring their classrooms into an exercise room filled with stationary bikes. They also hand them an educational magazine like Highlights or National Geographic for Kids. For the next ten or twenty minutes, the students pedal and read.
The first Read and Ride program, which is based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, had 41 exercise bikes donated and they also have one entire classroom at the Marvin Ward Elementary School dedicated to the program. In addition, Ward has 11 bikes in individual classrooms for students to ride as a reward, when they complete their classwork, and when teachers feel they could benefit from releasing some of their extra energy.
Read and Ride is the only such program in the nation dedicated to reducing obesity and improving literacy by using exercise bikes and reading.
To learn more about the program or to start one in your own community, visit the Read and Ride website.