Horse-Powered Reading Program

Horse-Powered Reading Program

About the Program

Anam Cara Stables, Inc. offers an exciting program for children ages 6-12: Horse-Powered Reading. The program partners horses with students to experience reading with their entire minds and bodies. Using metaphors for reading skills paired with horse-powered obstacles, students build motivation to read and grow their self-confidence in reading abilities.

The ultimate goal of the program is to help students at all levels become more intrinsically motivated learners. The program was developed by Michele Pickel, PhD and utilizes internationally recognized EAGALA Model Equine Assisted Learning (EAL.) Students are supervised by an EAGALA certified team including an Equine Specialist. There is no riding involved. How do horses help teach reading?

With EAGALA Model EAL students see and experience reading with their entire mind and body by creating metaphors for the skills involved in reading. Horses become the reading material or book students need to connect with. Without finding and making some connection with the text, it is easy to drift away from or lose interest in a book.

By experiencing how it feels when a book or text is too hard or too easy, students learn to choose a “just right” book. Seeing what tools are used to connect with the book (horse) and how that connection is made, allows facilitators and teachers to use clean questioning to help students discover the importance of connecting and explore better ways to do it through the metaphor.

In a Horse Powered Reading session, reading problems may be made visible by labeling obstacles that get in the way of understanding. Clients create a “Reading River” (obstacle course) that must be navigated with their chosen reading material (horse).

Often while reading, readers don’t even know when they have drifted away and no longer understand what the text is talking about. However, in the Reading River it becomes obvious! When an obstacle is met, the reader is forced to stop or move out of the river with their text. “Fix-up strategies” must be explored and used in order to get back in the flow of reading.

Facilitators can then ask, “What just happened?” and “How might that look when you are reading?” Perhaps the reader was forced to move out of the river and circle back for a ‘running start’ to get over an obstacle, much like you might need a running start to re-read a paragraph to get the meaning. Maybe the obstacle forced them to take a different route, such as looking at another chapter to figure out what is going on in this paragraph; or to get help by asking another person; or to use another tool such as a dictionary.

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Phone: (219) 207-7222


Address: 4298 E 1000 North, La Porte, IN 46350

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