An outdoor animal-facilitated literacy program
Repeated practice reading aloud is one of the best ways to improve literary achievement in children. Our program Book Buddies aims to improve students’ confidence, increase opportunities for literacy practice, and encourage a love of reading by directly pairing students and equine partners. Our horses serve as non judgemental partners for the students. Their comforting presence helps normally hesitant or struggling readers reduce their stress and anxiety about making mistakes, in order to increase confidence and motivation. In turn, the student’s voice calms the horse, giving the student a sense of purpose, connection, and reciprocity. By giving students the opportunity to build a relationship with a horse through reading out loud, we hope to increase students’ motivation, confidence, and fluency in reading so that they can become lifelong readers.