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Reading Dogs Help Kids Read
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Reading Dogs Help Kids Read

My Kindergartener is 5 and is young for his class. He may be held back in school this year. Needless to say, I am concerned. I have started looking at the options to help him. Guess what I found: Therapy Dogs at our public library!

Teaching children to read is a large task. As with any large task, they can be broken down into smaller, individual tasks. Each individual task must be learned so that the next task can build on the knowledge. An example, a child has to learn their abc's; in learning their abc's the child must learn first to recognize the letters, then the sound of the letters. Once this is accomplished, and only after this is accomplished, reading can begin.

Reading in front of the class can be difficult and filled with anxiety. However, reading to parents, grandparents or siblings can start the process. A way to build on this process is to find therapy dogs in your area. Therapy dogs are usually found in a public space, a library or or speech therapy area. They are available all over the country. Once in a public space, the child is focused on reading to the dog, but in reality, they are reading to the entire room of people.

This is a great way to build reading self confidence in children.

At our library, the therapy dogs go to the library twice a month. The dog is non-judgmental, loving and attentive, regardless of whether the child is struggling or reading fluently. The dogs are calm and that helps the child stay calm, even if the child is feeling anxious. Doing this reading builds the child's confidence in reading.

The first time we went to the therapy dogs in our library, my child refused to participate. However, he eventually came into the room and started reading (whispering) the book. We have been going for several months now, and the books have gotten longer and more difficult. My son continues to enjoy reading to the dogs and asks to go read to them. It has been such a Godsend to have this program available. I want everyone to know about it.

Our program is called "Paws to Read". The children read to the paws reading dogs and receive rewards of books when they complete 3, 6 and 9 readings.

If you are working on helping your child read, especially over the summer months, this is a great (FREE) way to work with your child on reading, reading out loud, and building a young reader's confidence.


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