The Black Stallion Literacy Project

October 2001

"Imagination can help you reach into the heavens to grasp an idea, bring it down to earth, and make it work." -Walter Farley

Kids and horses.
Kids and school.
Kids learning how to read.
Kids reading books about horses in school.
Kids falling in love with the idea of horses.
Kids signing up for riding lessons.
Kids discovering a lifetime relationship with the horse.

It all makes sense, doesn't it? After all, reading about horses, the idea of horses, is what got many of us started. It is a simple concept, really.

But turning a simple concept into a large scale reality is not so simplebut when you have a lot of faith and a corps of dedicated doers, it can happen.

It can start in one place and spread, and create a movement.

And then what you have is the Black Stallion Literacy Project.

The vision began with Tim Farley, whose father, Walter Farley, wrote the beloved classic The Black Stallion, and Mark Miller, owner of the Arabian Nights Dinner Attraction in Florida. It grew into an organization which crafted a first grade and fourth grade curriculum based on Walter Farley's books. It launched several years ago in Texas, and each year picks up more school districts across the country.

This fall, the pilot program is being launched in 4th grade classrooms in Montgomery and Prince George's Counties in Maryland, D.C. and suburbanVirginia, with the help and support of the Kennedy Center, the Washington International Horse Show, the Maryland Horse Council and Trueman Communications. During the summer, teachers attended a three day workshop for the Black Stallion curriculum at the Kennedy Center.

Sometime in late September or early October, each 4th grader will receive a copy of The Black Stallion. The reading program will conclude with a field trip to the Washington International Horse Show for a live performance of the "Black Stallion," courtesy of Arabian Nights.

If this pilot program is successful, than the Black Stallion Literacy Project could become a permanent part of the 4th grade curriculum throughout Maryland, which would open the door for a companion 1st grade curriculum, featuring the "Little Black" series.

For more information, visit www.bslp.org or www.wihs.org.
 

Share Your Love of Horses with Kids!
If the Black Stallion Literacy Project is going to be successful, there must be a grassroots network able to foster and nurture this new found interest in horses. The Maryland Horse Council, The Equiery and Trueman Communications are helping to coordinate the local support network necessary to make this project successful. 

Needed are volunteers willing to read a short horse story to a 4th grade class on October 16, and then answer questions from the children about horses or riding.

Needed are stable owners or managers willing to donate one or more free lessons. These will be used as reading incentives. Barns willing to donate a free lesson will be featured on the local website for the Black Stallion project. (The stables who have donated lessons, as of press time, are Corgi Glen, Oatland Stables [15 free lessons], Reddemeade [20 free lessons], Equine Therapy Associates, Surmont, Clay Hill, Davis Equestrian Center, Camp Waredaca, and Phoenix Stable.)

Needed are stables willing to offer barn tours for a hands-on experience, either this year or next year.

Ellie Trueman, of Trueman Communications, is also assembling goodie bags for each child, which will include the Maryland Horse Council introductorybrochures on horses, The Equiery's "Learn to Ride: Finding a LessonStable" brochure, and, of course, The Equiery, listing all the ridingstables in Maryland.

If you would like to get involved with Riders to Readers, please call Ellie Trueman at 301-407-9007, fax her at 301-407-9008 or e-mail her at tcgemt@aol.com.