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Students can read and ride at Bettendorf Middle School

A stationary bicycle has been installed in the Bettendorf Middle School library. It offers students a chance to burn off energy while reading.

Deb Temperly, Bettendorf Middle School teacher-librarian, says she didn’t come up with a new idea.

You could say she rolled with the concept, though.

Temple spoke with Tammy McClimon, with the Central Community School District library in DeWitt.

“We had a day where librarians in the area visited each other’s libraries and shared ideas,” Temperly said. “In one of (McClimon’s) libraries, she had several of these (stationary) bikes. It was something I had seen before and always wanted to do at Bettendorf Middle School.”

Temperly wrote a successful Innovative Grant application to Bettendorf Community Schools Foundation, which funds the project along with the Middle School Parent Link organization and Bettendorf Middle School Activity Fund.

To promote student physical fitness, encourage reading achievement, deter poor behavior choices, and offer flexible seating options in the learning environment, the middle school library now has a “Read & Ride” option of four stationary bikes. This offers students not only an alternative seating choice, but also a physical fitness opportunity that encourages reading and helps prevent poor behavior choices, Temperly said.

Temperly says this simultaneously gives students the opportunity to relieve stress and improve task focus.

“Furthermore, the stationary bikes are another incentive to get students into the library and get a book in their hands,” she said.

Studies show this type of physical activity “increases blood flow to the brain, sharpens neurological function and improves concentration,” she said.

With the assistance of language-arts teachers at all three grade levels (six, seven and eight), pilot groups will be organized based on teacher-recommendation and student interest. The objective is a cross-section of low-, middle- and high-achievement reading students. The students’ reading performance in the pilot groups will be tracked with a variety of measures.

Additionally, Temperly said, special-education teachers, particularly those who work with students with behavior plans, will help organize pilot groups and parameters for bike use. “If we had space," she said, "I would love to add more stationary bikes to the library or even create a room/space that teachers could “check out” to bring in a whole class to read and ride."

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Film critic/reporter since 1985 at Quad-City Times. Society of Professional Journalists, Broadcast Film Critics Association and Alliance of Women Film Journalists member. Member of St. Mark Lutheran Church.

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