Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Have You Read to Your Dog Lately?

Books + Apple My junior year in high school, I tutored elementary school kids in reading. Twice a week, during scheduling breaks I had between my high school and Running Start classes at Clark College, I would trek down the hill and across the football field parking lot from my high school to the elementary school where I met with second graders to help them improve their reading skills.  I bet they wished I could have brought my dog along! 

In 1999, Intermountain Therapy Animals launched the Reading Education Assistance Dogs (R.E.A.D.®) program. Inspired by medical studies that showed being close to pet animals has a calming effect on humans (except when they shred your piano music/netflix DVDs/napkins, eat - wrappers and all - an entire bag of Vitamin C drops from your purse, or devour a freshly hand-kneaded and baked loaf of bread they helpfully liberated from the dinner table on Christmas day in front of your guests. . .), this program pairs dog and owner therapy teams with kids to improve literacy.  The theory holds that under-performing children read better and more willingly to non-judgmental canine companions. They also gain social and empathy skills when working with the pooches.

This dog eats books for breakfast. . .and lunch. . .and dinner!
This dog eats books for breakfast. . .
and lunch. . .and dinner!

Based in Woodinville, Reading with Rover is one of the Seattle area affiliates of the now international R.E.A.D.® program.  All dogs and owners are also trained and registered as Delta Society Pet Partners® therapy teams. They will be visiting Redmond on Tuesday, May 19 and Tuesday, June 2 at Borders Bookstore in Redmond Town Center from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

This dog is all tuckered out after a long day of reading.
This dog is all tuckered out after a long day of reading.
Or maybe it was that loaf of bread.


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