Literary Horse Motivates Students to Read

Article excerpt

Byline: MARY MARAGHY

In class and at home, hundreds of Clay County students have been reading the popular novel Black Stallion, written by Walter Farley.

They have seen the movie, and on Friday, they got to see and smell the onyx-like velvety main character -- or its facsimile.

It's part of Clay County's second annual Black Stallion Literacy Project, created by the makers of Orlando's Arabian Knights dinner show.

Created in 1999, the project is a non-profit organization designed to promote reading among elementary school students. To date, about 150,000 students in Florida and other states have participated.

"Today we are so focused on tests and testing," said Larry Bramblet, a retired superintendent of schools who is president of the project. "I just worry if we have tested them so much that they are not motivated to read. Hopefully, this type of project will motivate them."

Bramblet said his goal is to provide the project free to as many students as possible. Anyone wishing to support the project can call him at (407) 239-9223.

Meanwhile, the Clay County Education Foundation paid about $20,000 for Clay County third and fourth grades to participate. The foundation, also a non-profit organization, raises about $80,000 per year for Clay's public schools.

More than 100 teachers received a 176-page integrated curriculum with activities based on geography, art, writing, music, social studies, history and math -- all correlated to the Sunshine State Standards. …