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Read & Ride

Read & Ride

What started as a fourth-grade research project for John D’Antonio’s class brought about a new classroom offering for Groton Elementary School this year. During classroom time reading current events, fourth grade students saw that there was an increase in childhood obesity and a trend toward reducing recess time in some elementary schools. They also read about a newly developed classroom concept known as Read and Ride that promoted the use of exercise equipment as a way to incorporate physical activity into busy class schedules. These special classrooms were helping younger children read longer and enjoy reading. On their own bike, students were able to pace themselves and also release pent-up energy. The reported results after students experienced these classrooms was a better physical and mental state as well as higher concentration levels for all students. “The kids liked the idea of being active while reading, instead of just reading,” D’Antonio said. “It looked fun, and when we researched how schools are getting better reading scores and fighting obesity at the same time, we thought that was a really cool thing.” The fourth graders came up with a plan for the Read and Ride concept to become a reality in their school. They each wrote a personal letter to the school board and then suggested some fundraising ideas. The board approved the classroom addition with the proper funding in place. And so, throughout the rest of the school year that followed, the class held a car wash, a bake sale, and a read-a-thon, all of which raised two thousand dollars for the equipment. Their earnings were a huge step towards creating the opportunity for their school they had envisioned, but they did not raise enough to buy a full classroom of bikes. It wasn’t until a generous donation was made from Cops, Kids and Toys Inc. of Ithaca, NY that the last twelve bikes could be ordered to complete the room. With a total of twenty-six bikes, an entire classroom can now participate at one time. Volunteers from Cops, Kids and Toys also helped set-up many of the stationary bikes and participated in the official “ribbon-cutting” which was held on December 23, 2016, during an all-school assembly. For current and future students, the Read and Ride room at Groton Elementary promises to be a fun place to work through some of the challenges of reading while also being active. Now a fifth grader, Drew Bush participated in the classroom initiative as a fourth grader last year. “It makes you read a lot faster and understand the book better,” he said. Drew highly recommends other schools start this program. “Do it,” he said, “...it really works.”


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