Thursday, July 19, 2012

Read and Ride

This is my friend Karen Koets who runs a week long morning summer program named Read and Ride.  It has been held the last three years at a local therapeutic horse facility called the Cheff Center in Augusta, Michigan.  Like me, she also teaches first grade students at another local school district.  She has 15 students who are at risk readers and just need a little nudge and practice to become proficient.  Her infectious energy and enthusiasm for reading are just what the doctor prescribed!   She Dibel tests them the first and last day of camp and has  amazing data that shows growth not only in reading scores but an increased interest in reading.   She incorporates horse riding and care, reading, writing, a little math and a program similar to Brain Gym called Bal-A-Vis-X.  A program of exercises and fun activities for brain -body integration.  Kids switch at intervals to "centers" and stay with a group of 4-5  kids.  They are either, reading to Karen, reading to a dog, riding a horse and doing phonics activities that are incorporated with riding the horse.  Kids LOVE this part so much!!   So check out some of the pictures!  Amazing program!                                                                                               

These are the cute, gentle and trained animal therapy dogs that  the kids read too.


Here are the riders along with their guides ready to ride and do phonics activities at the same time.  These students were given ping pong balls with words on them.  They had to ride their horse to the appropriate oy, oi or bossy r  bucket and drop their ball in.  Lots of focus and coordination for this job!

Who knew your hand span is 4 inches?   Well, that' s how these kids measured the height of this horse!  A little math sprinkled into the reading program can't hurt.

This is definitely a power packed program that delivers results.  I wish all students could get this opportunity because there is so much active learning going on but threaded through lots of fun.  No behavior problems  here.  Gee, I wonder why?  LOL



Her centers sound incredible- with research to back them up! Lucky kids :)
Would love to know more about the Bal A Vis X .... maybe a field trip to her center would count as PD? Thanks for sharing this inspirational piece, Sue!

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