By requiring students to sign in with an iPad, Coleman is able to collect data about who is using the bikes and the data is revealing.
are popular across all grade levels. There is an even distribution among boys and girls, and she is noticing that students with special needs or learning disabilities are having their needs met and are reading more than they were before.
One student in particular stood out to Coleman.
Cooper Lebakken, now a sixth-grader at Kelly Lane Middle School
, was a fourth-grader with dyslexia when the bikes first came to school. Last year as a fifth-grader he celebrated reaching his Accelerated Reader goal for a second straight year – something he had never done before the bikes.
Lebakken would be waiting at the door, “nose to the glass” every morning waiting to sign in and do his 20 minutes of reading homework on the bikes.
“It’s just a better way to learn,” Lebakken said. “It’s like my stress reliever. Books and biking are like one of the best stress relievers. The book takes your mind away from the things happening around you and then all the anger gets put into pedaling.”
Lebakken then shocked his parents when he said he wanted a reading bike at home to do his homework on.
A student who had not enjoyed reading before, was now reading more than ever and found something that clicked for him. His parents found another brand of reading bike that was less expensive and told Cooper they would match his birthday money. After spending his own birthday money on a reading bike, his parents then sent pictures to Coleman of him reading and doing his homework on his new bike.
“That was one of my favorite moments because it just worked for him,” Coleman said. “He got over the hump. I don’t know what he thought, but once he had permission to move and read in a different way, he made his reading goal.”
Lebakken remembers seeing the bikes the first day they were in the library. He knew immediately it would be something that would get him excited about reading because it provided a different type of outlet for him.
“I was really excited. I was looking around seeing if anybody else noticed it because those things looked more active to read. You’re exercising on a bike and it’s just fun,” he said. “When you add an activity to reading the book, it makes you feel like you’re part of the book.”
As the new school year gets underway, it shouldn’t take new students at Murchison
long to find the most popular spot in school – the corner of the library with the reading bikes.
Seeing how much impact the program has made at Murchison
and other districts in the area now has motivated Coleman to seek out more ways to implement active learning in the library. She has a goal to win one of the $25,000 grants
offered by Action Based Learning
But it’s knowing that her idea worked for even just one student that keeps her going and wanting to make an even bigger impact.
“It just takes one person having an idea and seeing that it’s good and then sharing it out. That’s all it takes. Think of how much positive impact you could have just for trying something crazy,” Coleman said. “That’s why I get up every day and do what I do. Who knows if there’s another Cooper out there?”