By providing our literacy promotion programs, we meet children where they are in their reading journey and encourage them to become confident readers through the experience with the mini equines. The child builds confidence with an understanding listener, one who doesn’t criticize, who encourages the child to continue to read with the resulting goal of improving their reading level. Tender Little Hearts helps them discover what their obstacles are in reading and through the equine experience, helps them overcome these struggles in a stress free, playful, learning environment. Statistics have shown there is an essential need for literacy promotion and reading encouragement programs in Arizona. It is estimated that 45 million adults in the United States alone cannot read. According to the US Department of Education and the National Institute for Literacy, studies indicate 4% of Americans have Below 1 literacy, meaning they cannot read well enough to perform daily activity living in our modern society. 60% of low-income families have no children’s books in the home. 70% of children whose parents have low literacy will likely be at the lowest reading levels in their grade. Nearly 70% of fourth-graders in the USA read below grade level. 82% of these children are from low-income homes. Arizona’s literacy rate is among the lowest in the United States at 76.7%, ranking the state forty-first in the U.S
The rate of illiteracy has not changed in the US over the past 10 years. A child who is a poor reader at the end of first grade has a 90% chance of being a poor reader at the end of fourth grade. If a child is not reading at grade level by fourth grade, they are statistically likely to remain illiterate throughout their life. Through our programs, we work to transform these statistics by promoting literacy and encourage reading with young children during their early developmental age period so they will have the confidence and desire to build on their reading skills, which will ultimately enhance their lives.
We have expanded our programing to include Horse Powered Reading®, which supplement a child's grade lessons at school, integrating social-emotional learning with academics. Students interact with horses from the ground, while using toys and props to identify obstacles and learn five critical reading skills - phonemic awareness, decoding, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension.
We are now an ESA Vendor, making this program available to all Arizona students.