ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) – As the wheels turn in the heads of Glenridge Middle Schoolers, their feet go around and around, too.
Students in two classrooms are riding exercise bikes during independent reading time.
The idea to put the bikes in the classrooms came from reading coach Kelly O’Brien and testing coordinator Amanda Gilmore.
“We wanted to put them in our struggling reading class because those are our lowest performing readers and we wanted to see if those students would make the most gains,” Gilmore said.
The women read an article about another school where riders turned into better readers and decided to give it a try.
The article explained that riding bikes will helped the students stay alert, keep focused, and burn energy while they read.
“We thought we would put them in that classroom first to see if we could get students motivated and grab a book on their own instead of being forced to do it and they’ve been in a week and we’ve already noticed a difference,” O’Brien said.
Thanks to a donation by Longwood-based business Buy and Sell Fitness the students have a total of eight stationary bikes to use.
In order to use the bikes, the students have to read at the same time.
“One of the children went through an entire book while we were in there it’s really great to see,” said Buy and Sell Fitness co-owner Oliver Leith, who visited the classroom along with FOX 35.
The student Leith saw reading was seventh grader Guillermo Vicente.
Before the bikes were installed, “I would be in my desk shaking around trying to get up from my seat, go visit friends,” Vicente said.
Now he sits on the bike and reads.
“It helps me actually concentrate more and read at the same pace,” he said, adding that he reads almost as fast as he pedals.
“I think it’s going to help a lot of kids that don’t like to read to read better and focus more,” Vicente said.
In the short time that the bikes have been in the classrooms, “Some of the kids who weren’t coming to class on time are now on-time if not early they’re eager to get on the bikes and read,” Gilmore said.