More

This simple yet brilliant idea is making kids smarter and healthier.

The program is called Read and Ride, and it's making kids smarter and healthier at the same time.

This simple yet brilliant idea is making kids smarter and healthier.
True
XQ: The Super School Project

Scott Ertl was reading a book while riding a stationary bike at the gym when he had an idea.

Like many busy adults, the only time he really got to read was when he squeezed it in while on an exercise bike.



These things are like the ultimate multitasking machines. GIF via "Reposessed."

Ertl was an elementary school counselor in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and the experience got him thinking, "I bet a bunch of kids would find it fun to read while exercising ... we could get some exercise bikes and give it a shot."

The principal at his school, Ward Elementary, was on board, so he hatched a plan and put it in motion.

The experiment started with a single bike in the corner of a classroom.

The solo bike was so well received that Ertl knew they needed more.


He's got legs, and he knows how to use them — to get his mind and body moving! Images via Read and Ride, used with permission.

With the help of Craigslist and garage sales, he outfitted an entire spare classroom with stationary exercise bikes.

Teachers signed their classes up for 15- to 20-minute blocks of time in the bike room, and students brought a book or picked up an educational magazine. The program was dubbed Read and Ride.

Movin' and groovin' — and reading!

The kids loved it, and they were reading and moving more.

The school wanted to know if there were real learning benefits attached to Read and Ride. They compiled data that showed that reading test scores and proficiency were up — and the more time students spent in the Read and Ride room, the better they did on state reading tests.

Read and Ride programs now exist (at least informally) in 30 states across the country, and educators all over are getting behind the trend. They aren't just using exercise bikes — under-desk ellipticals, something called Bouncy Bands, and exercise balls used as chairs are showing up in classrooms, too.

Movement helps kids like these be more fully engaged in learning. It's a win-win scenario for everyone!

As an added bonus, these types of exercises are especially good for students who are, um, a little less gifted in the athletic department (*raises own hand*). Since the rider controls the speed and intensity, each student can set their own pace, and there's no scrutiny or pressure — and no one ever gets picked last. Score!

Getting smarter and more confident, one pedal at a time.

Most Read and Ride programs get their bevy of stationary bikes via donation programs. If you've got an exercise bike collecting dust in your garage, consider finding out if your favorite school would like to have it donated.

This program has been so inspiring that it has expanded internationally!

At the Europe Region Medical Command in Sembach, Germany, they're using these portable movement machines in a pilot initiative based on this program.

And it looks like the kids are enjoying it just as much.

"The teachers said that they're already getting a positive change in attitude towards reading," SSG Carlos Molinares says in the video below.

Check it out:

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less

Simon & Garfunkel's song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has been covered by more than 50 different musical artists, from Aretha Franklin to Elvis Presley to Willie Nelson. It's a timeless classic that taps into the universal struggle of feeling down and the comfort of having someone to lift us up. It's beloved for its soothing melody and cathartic lyrics, and after a year of pandemic challenges, it's perhaps more poignant now than ever.

A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.

Keep Reading Show less
Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less