Horse literacy program reaches Saskatoon students

Watch above: An Alberta literacy program stopped at a Saskatoon school today to encourage students to read. Aaron Streck says the good listeners prove to be effective teaching tools.

SASKATOON – They see them in books, on TV and at parades but today was the first time for most of the students at King George Community School to be face to face with a horse. Sox, a gentle gelding with of course four white bottomed legs, was part of an interactive learning opportunity, the Arabian Horse Reading Literacy Project.

“We’re very proud of the Arabian horse and our breed and they’re so darn versatile and what better way to show that versatility and that great attitude then to get them out into the community, particularly into the eyes of kids and allow the kids to see a horse, to touch, to feel,” said project founder Gary Millar.

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The literacy project that began connecting youth with horses in Alberta eight years ago made a stop at Westmount Community School last year during the Western Canadian Breeders Competition and was at King George Community School on Friday.

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“I just had to say the word horse and a horse that’s going to be on our lawn and they were … they had their hands up … I’m coming … I’m coming and they were lining up so fast, it’s for all ages,” said King George Community School coordinator Carmen McCrae.

READ MORE: Saskatoon ranks 3rd for Canadian cities that love to read

The look on the kids faces said it all.

“I learned that you don’t touch their face, it’s like you’re giving them carrots,” said Grade 6 student Alanna Frampton.

“I pet it and it’s really soft, it was just really soft,” said Grade 5 student Trinity Frampton.

“To see them look into the eyes of that horse and reach out and touch and feel, it just blew you right away,” said Millar.

“To actually see a live horse and make that connection that’s when the literacy happens,” explained McCrae.

In Alberta, the Arabian Horse Reading Literacy Project encourages kids to read to the animals because they’re good listeners, students at King George School got a taste of the program and were provided with equine reading material to get them started.

During the Western Canadian Breeders Competition, the public can learn more about Arabian horses Saturday at Prarieland Park. The free Arabian horse showcase starts at 7 p.m.


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