LUBBOCK COUNTY, TX (KCBD) - Kids who struggle with reading at Roy Roberts Elementary school got a special treat on Friday.
As a reward for reading and good behavior, they got to read to miniature horses from Minis and Friends South Plains.
The little therapy horses are trained to work with the disabled, the elderly and at-risk youth to improve social skills, tactile response and ability to connect.
Those involved in the bi-weekly readings say they have seen drastic improvements in the children.
Lori Kitten is their school counselor and says the kids are delighted at the opportunity.
"A lot of times the handlers will pretend the horse is whispering to them and they'll ask them a question and say, 'The horse is wondering this in the story,'" she said. "And the kids, the look on their face is priceless."
Ed Jones is a retired school teacher who came with the horses on Friday morning.
He sits next to the kids, holding the horses' halters and helps prompt problematic words on the pages.
"There's several that have come pretty regular and we can see improvement in their reading," he said. "The teacher brags about how the kids are doing and so if we're helping the kids, that's good."
The kids have responded so well, Minis and Friends South Plains plans to come back for the rest of the year and for the school year of 2017.