EATON — At William Bruce Elementary, 80 students participated in a “Read and Run” program which encouraged them to set goals reading and exercising.
On Monday, May 22, the students put their practice to the test in a two-mile race in front of the student body, prior to the school’s annual Relay for Life.
The winners of the race were fourth graders Jon Hewitt and Emily Haynes.
The Read and Run program was an enrichment program Cory Zickefoose and Julie Springmier created. This was the first year of the program and it served as a trial run. There were around 80 kids in the program, a few from each class in the school, according to school officials.
Each month the students set their own monthly reading and exercising goals.
“As the year progressed you began to see students really excited about hitting their goals in both exercise and reading minutes and trying to exceed those goals set,” Zickefoose said.
Zickefoose worked with the other teachers to decided which students should participate. They looked for kids who would benefit from the reading or exercise aspect of the program. Then parent permission was sought.
He added, “The kids worked all year long, gradually building up for the race doing all sorts of different exercises.”
As for the day’s events, the Read and Run program was paired with the annual Relay for Life event. “We wanted to end the school year Read and Run program with something to emphasize both aspects of the enrichment program so the decision was made to have a two mile race in front of the school, followed up with an author, Dr. Linda Locke who read her books and did a presentation on bullying,” Zickefoose said.
Following the race, every class was able to walk the track for the Relay for Life kickoff.
Zickefoose explained, “The idea behind this is solely to get kids interested in both exercise and reading. Exercise is proven to help you be more focused in the classroom. The kids really enjoyed the program and a two mile race was very difficult for some students, so they felt very accomplished after finishing it.
“I have had a number of students say they look forward to doing it next year again along with other students ask to be involved next year. As for next year, I don’t know yet if we will have it since this was a trial year. We have asked the parents for feedback on it and we are waiting to see.”
“I haven’t seen the feedback yet on paper, however, I have had several parents come up and thank me and say their child really enjoyed being involved in the program,” he added. “I just hope kids continue to see the value in both reading and exercise and continue to set goals for themselves in life.”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH