In some Florida schools teaching kids to read has literally gone to the dogs.
READing Paws, part of a national program, uses trained Reading Education Assistance Dogs.
At Orlando’s Bay Meadows Elementary Hector the sheltie* visits the classroom each Monday, he lounges on the floor with children who take turns snuggling up next to him to read.
Even the youngsters who claim to hate reading want to read books to Hector. “No one wants to miss it,” said Carol Welch, the human teacher in Room 501.
It might seem silly, but Welch says Hector helps students practice pronouncing words without the pressure of messing up in front of other kids.
The program is already a hit in Atlanta and Nashville but is new to the Orlando area. This is the only program of its kind in Central Florida and already there is a waiting list for the nationally-registered therapy dogs, and their handlers.
What a great program, I can see why the kids love it. For more information on READing Paws, go to readingpaws.org or call Merilee Kelley at 321-251-6001.
* Click here to go watch Hector in action.