Almost 200 students at two SBISD elementary schools, Woodview and Spring Shadows, are reading well and riding shiny, new bicycles thanks to one nonprofit group’s focus on youth literacy and reading, reading, reading.
On Saturday, Dec. 8, a big delivery truck arrived at Woodview Elementary School filled with 80 new bicycles for second-graders with documented growth in reading who met mid-year reading goals.
Cycle Houston, a local group that donates up to 10,000 bikes annually, distributed bikes at Woodview and Spring Shadows Elementary School. At Spring Shadows, 90 second-grade students picked out new bikes on the same day.
Cycle Houston volunteers spent several days before the recent weekend delivery in a George R. Brown Convention Center hall assembling hundreds of new bikes.
At Woodview and Spring Shadows weeks earlier, students, parents and teachers signed contracts saying that students would earn a bike and new safety helmet if reading, behavior and attendance goals were all met.
“Our children tracked their reading progress and worked hard to earn their bikes, and all of our students were able to meet or exceed their goals,” said Woodview Principal Becky Hagan.
“This year, we made some pretty big improvements as a school community,” said Spring Shadows Principal Rachel Martinez. In kindergarten through second-grade classrooms, teachers used the Teacher’s College Readers Workshop as the reading curriculum. “They report huge gains in students reading,” she said, resulting in 90 second-graders meeting their December reading goals.
Cycle Houston’s bike distribution at Woodview was supported by teachers and staff members, as well as by area Coca-Cola and Chapelwood United Methodist Church volunteers. These awards can often spark special emotions.
“For many of our students, this was their first bike and they were so proud because they earned it through hard work and dedication,” Principal Hagan said. “Our parents were so proud of their children and many of them had a hard time holding back their tears.”
At the Spring Shadows distribution, Suzanne Harter with Cycle Houston helped lead efforts. Seema Patel with Texas Children’s Hospital helped organize school and lead volunteers from Coca-Cola and Harris County Medical Alliance. Cycle Houston’s volunteers coordinate student helmet fittings, student bike adjustment and delivery, and related needs.
In addition to principal and assistant principal, the Spring Shadows team included five second-grade teachers, a multi-classroom leader (MCL) and staff specialist.
“Students beamed with pride when called out during the special ceremony,” said Principal Martinez. “Parents were brought to tears when asked to stand up and to take a collective picture with their children and teacher . . . one parent commented on how important the bicycle was for her child because [our school] program built confidence in her child’s reading and it focused on growth.”
Woodview’s Hagan said that seeing her students on their new bikes was a precious moment. “To see our kids pedaling down the drive with such joy and excitement in their eyes was touching,” she said.
She will not forget one second-grader. “One of our students who already had a bike of his own said, ‘I have an old bike, but it works just fine. Would it be OK if I give this new one to my sister for Christmas?’ Our children have the biggest hearts, and they appreciate the support from all of our parents and volunteers,” Principal Hagan said.
These students will always remember that it pays off to work hard and achieve all of your goals – and to read, read, read!
To learn more, visit Cycle Houston.