Our coronavirus coverage is free for the first 24 hours. Find the latest information at Please consider subscribing or donating.

  1. Archive

Lead kids to a pony, then watch them read

Two ponys came to visit a class of first-graders at Brooksville Elementary School on Friday to encourage reading. The horses are part of the Black Stallion Literacy program, a nationally acclaimed reading project recently honored with the President's Point of Light Award. Hernando 4H Pony Express also handed out books for the first-graders to read. The goal is to make reading fun by helping the kids see the connection between the pony and the books. After reading Little Black, A Pony in class and to their parents at home, the students will visit a horse farm where they will read their favorite part of the story out loud and get a second book, Little Black Goes To The Circus.

First-graders begin reading Little Black, A Pony by Walter Farley as they walk back to their classroom Friday at Brooksville Elementary.

4H Pony Express horse handlers Erica Clark, 8, left, and Margo Stewart, 11, give Gerry, a 19-year-old Shetland Pony lots of attention and love Friday as Brooksville Elementary first-graders take seats on the curb to listen to the program. The girls were selected to be horse handlers based on their school conduct, horsemanship skills and willingness to be leaders and mentors.