Oh, third grade school days. Mine were mostly carefree and were comprised of counting down the minutes to recess, mastering my multiplication tables, remembering how to write the cursive Z (how do you write that again?), and receiving the latest issue of the Weekly Reader. Well, third grade has come full circle for me because now the League and I were were featured in the Weekly Reader‘s April issue and cover story, “Ready to Ride! U.S. cities jump on the bicycle path.”
The April issue will reach approximately 370,000 third graders nationwide this month — just in time for some spring bike riding. The great thing about the article is that it goes beyond the basics of bicycling. It is written to get kids’ critical thinking juices flowing and asks questions like, “Think about it: What are some other ways people commute to school or work?” Additionally, the article covers Bicycle Friendly Cities like San Francisco and Washington, D.C. and backs their data with numbers from the U.S. Census. On top of that, the article talks about what cities are doing to become more bicycle-friendly and gives examples from bike-share systems to bike lanes. The issue even includes a safety “Get in the Gear” diagram and Q&A to remind the kids that safety is always first.
The newsletter also provides supplementary materials for teachers with every issue of the Weekly Reader. It includes additional links and information to complement the kids’ reading. The April teacher’s guide includes questions like, “Why might some U.S. cities want residents to ride bicycles more often, vocab words like ‘commute’, data from the American Communities Survey, international bike data, and the League’s Web site bikeleague.org.
For me, though, I thought the two greatest things in the teacher’s guide were a Design a Bicycle Plan project (what better way to get our youth thinking?) and the critical thinking questions to quiz the students. My favorite question is number six — How might spokesperson Meghan Cahill feel if the number of bicycle commuters in the United States started to decrease? A) proud B) excited C) Nervous
I’ll let our bikeleagueblog.org readers answer that one.
League Director of Communications
Cahill joined the League in December 2008 and has a BA in Media Communications with a concentration in Italian Studies from the College of Charleston.