LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) — Some students in Fayette County are receiving a visit from a special friend this week. Hank the horse is stopping by several Lexington schools to keep children engaged in the classroom and help encourage books and reading.

Hank is a rescue and the face of nonprofit “For Hank’s Sake”. The founder Tammi Regan said while Hank helps the community in several ways, this activity is among the favorites.

“He’s been out and about at Southern Elementary School. He’s helping with the reading portion of their summer, Ignite program and he’s having a wonderful time out there with children. They tell us about themselves, they give Hank a horsey handshake, they show Hank his book, they read a little bit to him, and then they tell him about themselves and it’s been really fun and engaging,” said Regan.

Regan said the work is near and dear to her heart.

“It’s important because there is a literacy crisis in Kentucky and all across America. 33% of children in Kentucky are performing at below basic reading standards. By the time children are in third grade, if they’re not reading proficiently, they’re four times more likely to drop out of school. With alarming statistics like that, it’s clear to Hank that something needs to be done. So we’re out and about, we’re encouraging children to have fun while learning, and we’re helping them discover their passion for reading.

For more information about Hank visit ForHanksSake.org.