In the past ten years, over 500 at-risk students from Gull Lake Community Schools, grades K-2, have had an amazing time at the summer, fall and winter "READ AND RIDE ROUNDUP” camp at the Cheff Center in Augusta. This unique and innovative therapeutic approach to reading and learning is designed to increase oral reading fluency scores and improve self-confidence in reading fluency. Summer half-day camp combines exercises for brain and body integration and therapeutic riding which increases coordination, reflexes, and motor planning. Campers’ equine skills are expanded as they are tested on a morning of real "trail riding”. Phonics skills are practiced in the classroom as well as through arena games. Campers also enjoy reading to our trained therapy canine friends every day. The Fall and Winter six-week morning pullout camp concentrates on phonics, fluency, and comprehension in the classroom, and reading to therapy dogs. Arena time also concentrates on phonics skill games and horsemanship. Benefits of this therapeutic intervention include gains in oral reading fluency scores, reading attitudes, personal responsibility, and pride. Gains have been documented through test scores, surveys, and teacher observations.
READ and RIDE is designed to be a creative and affordable intervention program for our school community. Gull Lake Community Schools, GLCS Foundation, James R. Ryan Family Foundation, Brad Hoorn Endowment Fund, Richland PTO, Battle Creek United Way, Gull Lake Community Volunteers, Lakeland Asphalt, private donors, area businesses and families have historically provided funding.
Karen Koets, First Grade Teacher, Richland Elementary, and GLCS Foundation Trustee - Distinguished Academic Scholars Chairperson
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