AKRON — A group in northeast Ohio is combining its love of reading with its love for animals and is sharing both with the area’s youth.

What You Need To Know

  • This unique and popular reading program has been around for years

  • It is kept low cost to make sure anyone who wants to participate can

  • The day consists of reading to the horses, free lunch and a story time

“I like chapter books like this one,” Colton Wise said as he grabbed a book. “Timmy Failure Mistakes Were Made.”

Although Colton hasn't read the whole book, he has read some of it — because he's a good big brother. 

“I have read a couple pages,” said Wise. “Lilly was like ‘I want to learn how to read,’ but she's only in kindergarten.”

Lilly, Colton’s little sister, also loves to read.

The two are taking part in a summer reading program, but they're getting some practice in now — and not with the average reading program. The program takes place in front of a live audience — horses.

Teacher and reading program coordinator Tara Abbas said it takes some of the pressure of reading out loud off the table.

“The horses will love you no matter what,” said Abbas. “It's a fun way for them to practice without the fear and anxiety reading can bring.”

Colton said he enjoys reading to the horses because it's something different and they usually pay attention. The main focus is improving reading skills, but the interaction between the reader and horse is the cherry on top. 

Not only will children get to read to horses, lunch is also provided and they'll also have story time themselves. The lunch is donated by a local pizzeria and all the money made from the program is donated back to taking care of the horses. 

For more information on the program and how to sign up click here.