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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Teachers across the metro area have discovered an innovative way to teach young kids how to read better and with more confidence.
They are enlisting the help of Reading Education Assistance Dogs. Dogs that have received special training to sit patiently with children, as the kids read aloud.
At Zachary Lane Elementary School in Plymouth, first graders get weekly visits from Khloe, a very patient dog who likes to listen as students read books to her.
On this day, Khloe’s buddy Rupert has stopped by as well.
Both dogs, and their handlers, are volunteers with a program called R.E.A.D. Dogs Minnesota.
Nancy Brooks is the manager of the program in the Twin Cities.
“The dog is never going to laugh at them and say ‘Oh, you made a mistake.’ My role then is to help the dog help the child with the reading,” she said.
Brooks, and her therapy dog Franklin, have been visiting schools in the Twin Cities for more than a decade.
But outside of schools, these therapy dogs also can be found in public libraries.
“One of the survey questions from last year from one of the students in the program said he likes reading with Franklin because nobody else ever listens to him read. Isn’t that kind of sad? He is good listener,” she said.
The feedback from teachers and parents is that these interactions help increase the amount of time students spend reading, help improve their reading ability levels and help instill more confidence.
“So we are involving the dog and no matter how much the kid does or doesn’t know, he knows more than the dog,” she said.
So much so that there’s a demand for more dogs and people trained to do this.
“It is a challenge to fill all those requests that come in. So, we would love to have more volunteers,” she said.
Brooks said not all dogs are appropriate for this.
They need to be able to relax around children, sit still and listen. And they need to be able to go through training with their handlers.
R.E.A.D. Dog Minnesota has volunteers in schools and libraries across the seven-county metro area.
For more information about the program, visit R.E.A.D. Dogs Minnesota online.
Carver County & Scott County Celebration
There are reading with dog programs in all of the seven county metro area libraries. Two programs that are very active are in Carver County and in Scott County and, like the program in Hennepin County, the services are provided by the R.E.A.D. teams from the North Star Therapy Animals.
Here is a wonderful video created by Connie Priesz of the dedicated teams involved in the programs.
The Carver & Scott R.E.A.D. teams celebrated another successful year of R.E.A.D.ing with a party today! Check out a few of the pictures from the celebration here.
A BIG thank you to all the R.E.A.D. teams that continue to volunteer there time to our communities' young readers!
These are special bookmarks commemorating the teams for each program.
Plymouth Pet Expo
We enjoyed a beautiful day at the Plymouth Pet Expo Saturday, October 25th. A big thank you to the wonderful R.E.A.D. teams that shared their time and talents with the young readers:
Mary & Breeze
Connie & Molly
Jane & Pluto
Amanda & Milo
And, to Julie and Nancy for providing information to the visitors to the R.E.A.D. booth.
St Paul Bark & Rec
Plymouth R.E.A.D. Dogs Program on KSTP
The R.E.A.D. Dogs program at Zachary Lane Elementary School in Plymouth was featured on last night's and this morning's news shows in KSTP!
Check out the link here. http://kstp.com/news/stories/S3562014.shtml
Or check our Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/READdogsMN
Canine Visitors: The Influence of Therapy Dogs on Young Children’s Learning and Well-Being in Classrooms
Here's a great paper that "addresses to the most commonly raised objections to allowing dogs in classrooms and patient rooms and offers practical guidelines for maximizing the positive outcomes of animal assisted activities and therapy."
Click here to read it.
Woofstock is such a fun event for everyone involved, especially those young readers who got to spend some time with the R.E.A.D. dogs. Thanks to everyone for helping the day be such a big success:
Liz & Kady Eleanor & Petey
Sarah & Baxter Rene & Dagny
Betty & Chico Carolyn & Oliver
You know as a therapy animal handler that you are to keep a hold of your animal's leash at all times. There are many reasons for that and Stanley Coren's recent article, Does a Person’s Familiarity Affect a Dog’s Obedience?, highlights one of them.
A dog will respond more readily to the owner than to a either a familiar person or an unfamiliar person.
Click here to read the whole article.
Animal-assisted therapy improves mood and boosts empathy
Published on April 7, 2014 by David Sack, M.D.
Winston Churchill said, “There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man,” he may have been more right than he realized. A growing body of research is beginning to confirm what has long been observed anecdotally – that animals can help us heal in ways both physical and psychological.
What is it about animals that can help us get back on track?
Click here to read the full article.
News & Updates
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