A US non-profit organization Intermountain Therapy Animalslaunched the first comprehensive literacy program The Reading Education Assistance Dogs® [R.E.A.D.] Program in 1999.
How does it work?
Reading to dog programs improves children’s reading and communication skills by employing a powerful method: reading to a dog, but not just any dog. READ programs utilise registered therapy dogs that have been trained and tested for health, safety, appropriate skills and temperament. When these special animals come to hear children read – it’s fun! And that makes all the difference.
Learning to read is often less about intellectual limitation than about overcoming fears. Dogs are ideal reading companions because they:
- help increase relaxation and lower blood pressure
- listen attentively do not judge, laugh or criticize
- allow children to proceed at their own pace are less intimidating than peers
Dogs can’t read but they can be great listeners and their presence creates an inviting and motivating environment:
“When children read to dogs, the experience is just magical—there’s no other way to describe it.” Dana Tumpowsky Director Public Relations Salt Lake City Library USA