Literacy Program Brings a Book to Life for Students

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) --  Almost 900 fourth grade students from every corner of Region 8 were in Jonesboro on Wednesday because of reading.

"When you get into a book you can picture it in your mind and you can feel like you're really there," said fourth grader Macey Barnum.

That's exactly what each and every one of the kids who are in the program are getting to do.  Fourth grade teacher Kathy Farris said this program is really helping all of her students.

"It gives them the chance to see that they may not experience all these things they read but  they can, through reading, be a part of it," said Kathy Farris.

The Black Stallion Literacy Program was first introduced to students in Arkansas four years ago with 32 students now over $10,000 fourth graders across the state are part of it.

"It's the best thing we've done in 30 years of teaching.  I have worked so hard to get kids to want to read," said Farris.

"I thought it was really fun.  It helped us get to know the book better.  It went along with the book," said Barnum.

For teachers, seeing children connect with what they're learning is what they work for all year long.

"To see the looks on their faces and the excitement meant more to me than anything.  They were so excited that they had tears in their eyes.  They wanted those horses.  They were just very, very excited about being here," said Farris.

The hope of this program is to inspire children who don't have a true love for reading that they might discover it.

"Reading affects you in everything in life.  Everything you do in some way you need to be able to read," said Farris.

"The joy of reading is such a marvelous tool and asset to have throughout life.  It does encourage success," said the BSLP Arkansas Coordinator Laura Graves.

Graves said that eighth graders that started this program four years ago are now at a higher writing level than other eighth graders.