Jerri Foster

Ruth Hale Barker Middle School
Bentonville, AR

Project Description:

“The Horse Tales Literacy Project”, Foster’s winning program idea, is designed to jumpstart the love of reading by motivating and  inspiring students to read through interacting with horses – the subjects of the books they will read. Starting with the novels, The  Black Stallion and The Black Stallion Returns, students in fourth and fifth grades (respectively) will explore the rich vocabulary and  descriptive language as well as participate in a live horse experience. During the live horse experiences, students will rotate among  stations to learn about tack, grooming, horse shoeing, roping, and breeds of horses. They also will be allowed to brush the horses and be  exposed to equine careers like veterinarians, athletic trainers, and animal therapy for humans. The hands-on experience is designed to  bring the literature to life for the students. In addition to the two novels, students also will read a variety of horse-related texts,  write in multiple genres, and participate in Today’s Meet, an online discussion forum for teachers, students, and parents as a component  of literature circles. Foster, who resides in Belle Vista, believes the students who participate will become motivated to read more after  having an opportunity to connect first-hand with the subject of the book they are reading – a horse.