A Ride for Reading, and a book for each student

December 02, 2016


Several dozen students sat on the curb outside Banner Elk Elementary School Thursday afternoon waiting for the arrival of the Lees-McRae cycling team with books stuffed in their backpacks.

Once there, the students raised a hand in the air and repeated after Head Cycling Coach, Tim Hall.

In unison, they shouted the ‘Ride for Reading’ oath, “I promise to read my book twice! I will never ever throw my book away! And I promise to be the best student for the rest of the year!”

The oath was just one element of the Ride for Reading event that students partook in before each receiving their book.

Founded in Nashville, Tennessee, in 2008, the Ride for Reading is a nation-wide, community support program that is designed to promote literacy, bicycle safety and a healthy lifestyle to elementary school kids within low income areas.

The cycling team completes one delivery both in the fall and spring semesters—Thursday’s delivery being the third for the team.

At the school, team members taught the children the importance of cycling safety which included wearing a helmet, using a bike light and always dressing in bright clothing.

After the safety lesson and learning some more about the cycling team, the students traveled inside to select their book of choice—with a little help of course.

Without bending down, the cyclists dressed in their green and gold kits towered about the children. But many made sure to crouch before reading a page or two out of their favorite book like Clifford the Big Red Dog or Madeline.

Hall said the Ride for Reading allows him and the team the opportunity to connect with the local community through their passion for bicycles and books.

“The goal is the help improve literacy in Avery County, and we hope our deliveries plant a seed with these young kids that reading is important and fun,” Hall said. “Our team looks forward to these deliveries because they enjoy seeing young kids get excited about receiving their own book to keep."

Similar to Hall, Vice President of Athletics Craig McPhail said the event adds much value to the community.

“For a community such as Avery county, small in population, impoverished and very rural, the Ride for Reading program unites our college, cycling team and student-athletes to a program rich in quality,” McPhail said.

It is truly a special, 360 experience for everyone involved, Hall said. 

Media Contact:

Nina Mastandrea  |  Content Manager
Tel: 828.898.8729  |  Email: mastandrean@lmc.edu