After realising the only time he got time to read was on an exercise bike, school counselor Scott Ertl decided to extend the concept to the classroom.

Working at a primary school in North Carolina, Ertl pitched the idea to his principal after 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."

His Read and Ride program began with a single exercise bike in the corner of a classroom - which ended up being so well-received that Ertl knew he needed more.

The Read and Ride program in Rogers, Arkansas. Photo / readandride.org
The Read and Ride program in Rogers, Arkansas. Photo / readandride.org

He sourced bikes from garage sales, donations and through Craigslist and managed to fill an entire spare classroom with exercise bikes.

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Teachers could sign their classes up for 15 to 20 minute sessions in the bike room, with each student bringing their own book or educational magazine - and the kids loved it.

Data compiled by the school showed that reading test scores and proficiency had improved as a result of the program - plus, the longer students spent in the Read and Ride room, the better they did on state reading tests.

The program has now spread to 30 states across the US, with some using, under-desk ellipticals, Bouncy Bands and exercise balls instead of bikes.

The program aims to prevent childhood obesity and promote literacy.

- nzherald.co.nz