Reading Activities

Students reading while on exercise bikes
Several studies have recognized that physical activity improves cognitive functioning and increases the brain neurotransmitters and brain-derived neurotrophins responsible for learning and memory. Reading proficiency is impacted by cognition and comprehension of reading materials requires increased memory. Integrating physical activity into school and community can aid in improving reading proficiency for school-aged children.

Best Practices

Carpenters Middle School in Blount County Schools

Nearly 200 Carpenters Middle School students are reading and riding during 20 minutes of their language arts classes. While all of the schools' students read a book they select for 20 minutes a day during language arts, the 196 students in the new Pedal Power program ride exercise bikes at the same time. The goal is to improve their reading, and the exercise is just an added benefit.

Students' reading more also would help Carpenters Middle reach its goal for the Reading Rocks program of completing 10,000 books this school year.  Carpenters Middle School purchased 14 exercise bikes with a $2,000 coordinated school health mini-grant and some additional funding from Volunteer Pharmacy.  Teachers also are reaping the benefits, such as riding while reading or grading papers during planning periods when students are not using the bikes.

Tools and Resources


  • GoNoodle helps teachers and parents get kids moving with short interactive activities. Desk-side movement helps kids achieve more by keeping them engaged and motivated throughout the day.

SPARKabc’s Classroom and Recess Activity Program

  • Classroom activity solutions brought to you by the world's most researched & field-tested physical education program! Extensive evidence supports the association between school-based physical activity (PA) and academic performance. SPARKabc’s (Activity Break Choices) is an exciting new program that helps classroom teachers use physical activity to improve academic achievement and foster healthy behaviors. Content includes Classroom ASAP’s (Active Soon As Possible) as well as physical activities that support learning standards in Literacy/Language Arts, STEM, Social Studies, Nutrition Education, and the Common Core State Standards Initiative.

Read and Ride

  • Read and Ride is a program encouraging students to be more active while reading.  It is lauded as an effective, easy-to-implement, and cost-free program that seeks to reduce childhood obesity and promote literacy.