GENTLE CAROUSEL’S READING IS MAGIC
Gentle Carousel’s award winning literacy program Reading Is Magic inspires young readers and “brings books to life”. The horses of Reading Is Magic work inside schools, libraries, with mentoring programs, at literacy events and at education resource centers in high crime neighborhoods. The program has a special focus on at risk readers.
The horses working with Reading Is Magic help children improve literacy skills and build enthusiasm for books and reading. The ability to read is critical to a child’s success in school, their life long earning potential and their ability to contribute to society.
By third grade students move from learning to read to reading to learn and are expected to master fact filled texts. Poor readers tend to have more behavioral and social problems. Children who lack proficiency in reading by third grade are four times more likely to become high school dropouts. While their classmates are gaining knowledge and learning new words from context, poor readers may begin to avoid reading out of frustration.
When the horses of Reading is Magic visit libraries, children are encouraged to sign up for library cards and to check out books. Parents are taught about the importance of reading to children before and after they are able to read themselves. Gentle Carousel library events are filled to capacity and are usually the most well attended events of the year for the libraries the horses visit.
A group of Gentle Carousel horses match the characters in classic children’s books or are the actual characters in the books children are reading. When books are completed the characters visit classrooms or read with individual students.
Therapy horse Circus takes his book to schools, mentoring programs and at education resource centers as part of Gentle Carousel’s Kind Program. Young students who have “been spotted being kind” receive a classroom visit and award from the spotted horse. Acts of kindness include positive behavior like standing up for a fellow student or sitting with a new student at lunch.