Good readers rewarded with bikes in FBISD
Youngsters cycling through their Fort Bend neighborhoods may seem to be a more common sight this winter break.
That may be because the nonprofit CYCLE — Changing Young Children’s Lives through Education — expanded its outreach when it focused on improving literacy among elementary students in the Fort Bend Independent School District from four schools in 2017 to 10 in 2018.
CYCLE partnered with Fleming, Heritage Rose, Ridgemont and Armstrong in 2017. In 2018, the program, which began in 2004, partnered with these elementaries: Armstrong, Fleming, Glover, Goodman, Heritage Rose, Mary Austin Holley, Mission Bend, Mission Glen, Ridgegate and Ridgemont.
CYCLE focused just on second-graders this year because it determined that was the most critical age in the literacy cycle “where students transition from learning to read to reading to learn.” Formerly the group focused on grades 1-3.
Rebecca Roberts, CYCLE executive director, said she starts with the superintendent and then works with Pamela Shaw, Fort Bend ISD director of the Department of Collaborative Communities, to discuss schools most in need. Schools selected for CYCLE participate in the Title I program, an indicator of student need on a campus.
Roberts said they discuss the percentage of Title 1 students and who they think will benefit the most from the program.
“Second-graders are all tested,” said Shaw. “They have to have parental permission to be involved. The teachers test at the beginning of the year and set a goal. Each student had an attainable goal. The goals are tailored to that student and that student’s ability. She (Roberts) did pep rallies and left a bike at a school as a reminder. If you reach this reading level you earn this bike.”
“At the end of the semester, students are tested again to see if they attain their goal,” said Roberts. “Most go well over it.” She added that students also must receive a satisfactory or excellent conduct grade in order to qualify for a bike.
Three hundred volunteers assembled 800 bikes on Dec. 1 at NRG Centre. More than 1,500 volunteers continued throughout the week to build 6,000 bikes. CYCLE volunteers delivered 6,000 bikes on Dec. 7 to students at 57 elementary schools in nine school districts last month.
In Fort Bend ISD, volunteers delivered 829 bikes to second-graders, said Roberts.
Shaw calls it a great program. The bike serves as a carrot to encourage students to master certain literacy standards, she said.
“(Fort Bend ISD) Trustees are passionate about literacy,” added Shaw. “Anything any organization can do to support that and support our students is always welcome. CYCLE is an amazing group.”
Shaw noted students received a full package not just a bike but also a helmet and safety pads. “It’s neat to sow in them the desire to read. It’s a great plus for those parents as well. It encourages those parents to be more active in reading with children.
“Any time parents see an outside group interested in their children’s education, it means a lot to them,” added Shaw. “Parents have to do their bit and encourage reading at home. Hopefully, it becomes a habit, a lifelong habit.”
Visit https://cyclehouston.org for more information.