Thomas Ramey Watson

Listening Dogs Help Kids Learn to Read

Eight-year-old Sammy loves reading aloud to Fawn. That’s because Fawn doesn’t ask annoying questions or criticize the youngster’s pronunciation. Mostly he wags his tail and pricks up an ear.

Fawn is a golden retriever.

The idea of “listening dogs” began in Salt Lake City, Utah, back in 1999, part of an organization called Reading Education Assistance Dogs (R.E.A.D.) Since then, more than 3,000 dog therapy teams across the globe have trained and registered with the program.

From R.E.A.D.’s website:

The Reading Education Assistance Dogs (R.E.A.D.) program improves children’s reading and communication skills by employing a powerful method: reading to an animal. But not just any animal. R.E.A.D. companions are registered therapy animals who volunteer with their owner/handlers as a team, going to schools, libraries and many other settings as reading companions for children.

R.E.A.D. is the first and foremost program that utilizes therapy animals to help kids improve their reading and communication skills and also teaches them to love books and reading.

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