Combining Walter Farley’s books and real horses, the Black Stallion Literacy Foundation
(BSLF) teaches first grade children the excitement and joy of learning to read. The BSLF is an
innovative partnership among educators, businesses, volunteers, education foundations, and staff
members focused on promoting literacy. The project was conceived in 1999 by The Black
Stallion author, Walter Farley’s son, Tim, and Mark Miller, owner of Arabian Nights Dinner
Attraction in Kissimmee, Florida. Tim and Mark share a common interest in teaching children
the importance of reading. Tim from the influence of his father’s books and Mark having the
experience of working with horses combined their efforts to create the Black Stallion Literacy
Foundation. The BSLF began serving children in 2000. Since then, approximately more than
400,000 children across the United States are involved in the reading program. The school-
based BSLF programs are composed of activities developed around Walter Farley’s classic
books. The school-based programs are curriculum-based literacy programs for 1st and 4th-5th
grade students. The programs are age appropriate and aligned with both state and national
standards in reading and other curriculum areas.

“This is the third year that the first graders have been able to participate in the BSLF
program and the fifth year that the fourth graders have been involved,” stated Becky Foreman,
SH Literacy Coach. “The children love horses and the BSLF makes a connection using the live
horses and literacy. This program gets the children so excited about reading. For the first
graders, the BSLF provides two books to each of the students. First the BSLF brings a black
pony to the school for the children to see and feel the real horse. This brings the reading to life
for them. At this time, the foundation gives each child the book, Little Black, A Pony. In April,
the students will take a field trip to Jonesboro where they will get to participate in activities
centered around horses. The children will actually get to take turns reading to horses. The
fourth grade students each receive a copy of Walter Farley’s classic book, The Black Stallion,
and go on a field trip to the ASU Equine Center to watch a skit based on the book. The goal of
the program is to spark the imagination of the first grade students so they will want to learn to
read, and to motivate fourth and fifth graders so they will experience the joy of reading. The
students at SH love being involved in the BSLF program. The combination of horses and
reading creates an interest in the children to want to learn more. We are very fortunate and
thankful that we are able to be involved in the reading program.”