Green Read & Ride

What if each child in a classroom felt content and equal for just 20min per day- regardless of reading ability or body composition?

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Founding Story: Share a story about a key experience or spark that helps the network understand why this project got started or a story about how you became inspired about the potential for this project to succeed.

Remember when reading and getting exercise in school were two very different activities? You did one or the other, and doing them together would have seemed kind of silly. What began as a partnership with two physicians (moms), a community foundation, and an elementary school in Michigan is an expansion of the innovative Read & Ride program. Called Green Read & Ride, this new program will help increase reading proficiency, provide non-judgemental physical activity and STEM exposure.

Which categories describe you? (the answer will not be public)

  • White (for example: German, Irish, English, Italian, Polish, French, Caucasian)

Website

http://www.stclairfoundation.org/news/more/green_read_ride_pilot_program_comes_to_avoca_elementary

Location: Where is your organization headquartered? [State]

  • Michigan

Location: Where is your organization headquartered? [City]

Port Huron

Location: Where is your project primarily creating impact? [State]

  • Michigan

Location: Where is your project primarily creating impact? [City]

Avoca for the initial pilot program. Scheduled for more classrooms in Port Huron Schools, East China Schools, Marine City and Algonac Schools.

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

3-year-olds in poverty situations know 600 fewer words than those from middle-class families. The word gap widens to 4,000 words by the second grade. Further, low-income families engage in less physical activity and have more health concerns than that of the general population. Green Read & Ride gives additional reading time and physical activity to students that may, otherwise, not be afforded these opportunities on a regular basis.

Imagine being the child who never receives a "star" for achieving a new reading level, or the child who wants to hide when it comes to gym time or recess for fear of being picked last or not being able to run. What if combining reading and riding a bike leveled the playing field for all these children? 

Research shows that Read and Ride programs increase reading proficiency in elementary school students. We wanted to take it further, though. Adding the Green Microcycle to a traditional Read and Ride program, we can get kids to exercise, learn about STEM topics, increase reading proficiency, AND produce electricity!

Green Read & Ride will allow each child to read at their respective level and exercise at their own comfortable pace without fear of judgment. They also have the bonus of seeing their biking efforts put power back into the grid of their school or their own electronic devices. Our innovative program is designed to achieve the triple objectives of:

  1. Improve reading proficiency
  2. Increasing physical activity
  3. Get kids interested in the STEM- the elements that underlie the bicycle’s construction and purpose.  

Is your model focused on any of the following traditionally underserved communities?

  • Low-income communities

Does your model work within any of the following sectors?

  • Childcare
  • Education

Year Founded

2015

Project Stage

  • Start-Up (a pilot that has just started operating)

Example: Walk the network through a specific example of what happens when a person or group engages with your solution.

Children in poverty tend to watch television too much. They don’t have many, if any, books at home. They are also slower to develop cognitively. Compounding these disadvantages, children in poverty also face inequality in access to physical activity. Green Read & Ride allows all children of any background to come into a classroom full of cool looking bikes, get up on a seat adjusted to their height, put their reading material on the book holder and start to pedal- generating electricity. Teachers book the classroom for 20min at a time during the school day and the room is open before and after school for extra opportunities to read & ride. At Avoca Elementary, there is 1 classroom with 26 bikes open for use by the kids.

Impact: What was the impact of your work last year? Please also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

The program is in its infancy. We are tracking qualitative and quantitative data to share at a later date.

Organization Type

  • nonprofit/NGO/citizen sector

Annual Budget

  • $500k - $1m

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is your solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Each Green Read & Ride classroom is fully funded by private donors before being implemented. Ongoing maintenance is supplied by the school custodians with a limited warranty from the bike manufacturer. The program books and curriculum are built into each school's existing budget.

Unique Value Proposition: How else is this problem being addressed? Are there other organizations working in the same field, and how does your project differ from these other approaches?

We've greatly enhanced the original Read & Ride concept created in North Carolina. Adding the custom Green Microcycle to a traditional Read and Ride program, we can get kids to exercise, learn about STEM topics, increase reading proficiency, AND produce electricity! Hyper active kids love the physical outlet, the physical activity while reading is proven to increase reading proficiency and now we have the fun elements of powering your school at the same time!

Reflect on the Field and its Future: Stepping outside of your project, what do you see as the most important or promising shifts that can advance children’s wellbeing?

I feel social and emotional learning for educators is key... children facing chaos at home with parents in constant struggle or in "crisis" mode do not have stability, nor do they know how to find it. The more educators are able to step into the shoes of a struggling child, versus just discipline the behavior stemming from a home environment, the better off that child will be. These kids just want someone to understand their world versus fix them. The more an educator understands a child's home life (a likely root of the behavior) the more likely they are to able to help that child cope.

Source: How did you hear about the Children’s Wellbeing Challenge? (the answer will not be public)

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Your project is amazing.

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