DOGS ARE GOOD TO US IN A LOT OF WAYS. They hunt, fetch our slippers,
and cheer us up when were down. Maybe they can even help us learn to read.
Thats the idea behind Paws to Read, a program developed in September
of 2000 by Renos Paws For Love therapy dog organization, which brings
canine companionship to people in need. Through the Paws to Read program, therapy
dogs make regular visits to libraries and schools all over Washoe County. Children
grab a book, curl up on the floor with a dog, and start reading.
It may sound ridiculous, but it makes sense. Dogs dont correct your pronunciation
or look at you funny when you mess up; no judgment means less intimidation for
a reader, and a greater willingness to keep reading. For those with difficulties,
it offers a safe, non-threatening environment, and for young people who wouldnt
normally read on their own, its an incentive to keep at it.
Ive seen so many kids come through school inadequately prepared,
and it has everything to do with reading, says Barbara Stewart, president
of Paws for Love. Weve made reading fun, not just a chore. That
forms habits. If they look forward to it, they do better.
To learn more about the program, visit paws-for-love.org.