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.

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:

More
True
XQ: The Super School Project

As a child, Dr. Sangeeta Bhatia's parents didn't ask her what she wanted to be when she grew up. Instead, her father would ask, "Are you going to be a doctor? Are you going to be an engineer? Or are you going to be an entrepreneur?"

Little did he know that she would successfully become all three: an award-winning biomedical and mechanical engineer who performs cutting-edge medical research and has started multiple companies.

Bhatia holds an M.D. from Harvard University, an M.S. in mechanical engineering from MIT, and a PhD in biomedical engineering from MIT. Bhatia, a Wilson professor of engineering at MIT, is currently serving as director of the Marble Center for Cancer Nanomedicine, where she's working on nanotechnology targeting enzymes in cancer cells. This would allow cancer screenings to be done with a simple urine test.

Bhatia owes much of her impressive career to her family. Her parents were refugees who met in graduate school in India; in fact, she says her mom was the first woman to earn an MBA in the country. The couple immigrated to the U.S. in the 1960s, started a family, and worked hard to give their two daughters the best opportunities.

"They made enormous sacrifices to pick a town with great public schools and really push us to excel the whole way," Bhatia says. "They really believed in us, but they expected excellence. The story I like to tell about my dad is like, if you brought home a 96 on a math test, the response would be, 'What'd you get wrong?'"

Keep Reading Show less
Packard Foundation
True

Someday, future Americans will look back on this era of school shootings in bafflement and disbelief—not only over the fact that it happened, but over how long it took us to enact significant legislation to try to stop it.

Five people die from vaping, and the government talks about banning vaping devices. Hundreds of American children have been shot to death in their classrooms, sometimes a dozen or so at a time, and the government has done practically nothing. It's unconscionable.

Keep Reading Show less
Education & Information
Amy Johnson

The first day of school can be both exciting and scary at the same time — especially if it's your first day ever, as was the case for a nervous four-year-old in Wisconsin. But with a little help from a kind bus driver, he was able to get over his fear.

Axel was "super excited" waiting for the bus in Augusta with his mom, Amy Johnson, until it came time to actually get on.

"He was all smiles when he saw me around the corner and I started to slow down and that's when you could see his face start to change," his bus driver, Isabel "Izzy" Lane, told WEAU.

The scared boy wouldn't get on the bus without help from his mom, so she picked him up and carried him aboard, trying to give him a pep talk.

"He started to cling to me and I told him, 'Buddy, you got this and will have so much fun!'" Johnson told Fox 7.

Keep Reading Show less
Most Shared
via Hollie Bellew-Shaw / Facebook

For those of us who are not on the spectrum, it can be hard to perceive the world through the senses of someone with autism.

"You could think of a person with autism as having an imbalanced set of senses," Stephen Shore, assistant professor in the School of Education at Adelphi University, told Web MD.

"Some senses may be turned up too high and some turned down too low. As a result, the data that comes in tends to be distorted, and it's very hard to perceive a person's environment accurately," Shore continued.

Keep Reading Show less
Education & Information