The Running & Reading Club Program

The Start2Finish Running & Reading Club after-school program helps make this dream a reality. The program addresses the need for enhanced literacy and physical activity among children experiencing poverty/ deprivation in the communities it services. S2F currently has Running & Reading Club programs successfully operating from coast to coast, and will achieve our strategic goal of being in 50 communities in 2018-19.

The Running & Reading Club Program takes place directly within local schools, and runs for two hours one day per week from October to June. The program culminates in the Start2Finish 5K Running & Reading Challenge and an awards ceremony recognizing each child’s achievement at the end of the school year.

Program Measurements

The Running & Reading Club is an evidence based after-school program. Results are measured through pre- and post- program fitness testing by our S2F Scientific Ad􏰁isory Group 􏰉SAG􏰊, as 􏰀well as through participant surveys and journals, 􏰁volunteer and teacher reports, and a 􏰃questionnaire developed by SAG member Dr. John Cairney, that measures the impact of physical activity on social and character skill dev􏰁elopment.

Program Goals

  • Increased physical activity

  • Higher reading levels

  • Social/Character Skill Development

  • Increased Graduation Rates

Weekly schedule

  • Running and Active Games (45 Minutes)

  • Nutritious Snacks & “Word of the Day” (20 Minutes)

  • Reading with the Coaches (45 Minutes)

  • Shout-Outs (10 Minutes)


12-Step Program Approach


1: Welcome and Attendance

Builds child's sense of belonging and self- confidence. They feel they are a valued member and contributor to the Club’s success.

2: Review Word of the Day

Last week's Word and the ways it can be put into action are discussed. Recalling the word and actively implementing it helps the children understand & remember it. Coaches applaud children then they demonstrate the word through their actions.

3: Warm Up & Running

Decreases child's stress response by decreasing cortisol, thus remo􏰁ing obstacles to learning. Activates a protein in the brain w􏰀hich facilitates remembering & recalling information. Children de􏰁velop transferable life skills/character 􏰃qualities.

4: Circuit Training

Allows children to further develop cardiovascular fitness and motor skills, muscular strength and agility. They learn how they can be active for life without material resources.

5: Active Game

Builds cardiovascular fitness & makes physical activity fun. Uses working memory as kids must remember rules and implement them. Teaches self-regulation as kids wait their turn; promotes team work and a child’s recognition that they are a valuable contributor to the team.

6: Nutritious Snack

The snack is often the only nutritious food the children have that day. It helps to refuel after a great workout, eliminates hunger as an obstacle to learning, and introduces healthy foods they may not be familiar with.

7: “Word of the Day”

Learning new words, their meaning, spelling, and how and when to implement them builds character, develops vocabulary, & gives children new skills and tools to respond in situations.


8: Journal Entry

Documenting their running journey gives children a powerful tool to see their progress. The journal helps them reflect on how they felt and that they overcame to finish the run.

9: Reading

Reading on their own, with a peer or coach expands the child’s vocabulary and their imagination. The fear of books is removed when they read with a trusted, patient, encouraging mentor.

10: Clean Up and “Shout Outs”

Positive and public acknowledgement helps change the negative mindset the children have of themselves. Cleaning up builds teamwork, recognition of need, and opportunity to contribute.

11: Dismissal

Provides closure and assurance Club is on next week. Positive affirmation and Word-of-the-Day end Club with momentum and purpose. Dismissal attendance; child pick-up instructions adhered to.

12: De-Brief

Positive changes in the children are shared and celebrated as a team. Issues with behaviours/activities are raised and a resolution is determined as a group. Teachers share tips. Tasks for next week are assigned.



                                               Start2Finish Running and Reading Club 

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