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Therapy dog helps students learn to read

Published: Friday, Nov. 9, 2012 12:00 p.m. CST • Updated: Friday, Nov. 9, 2012 12:05 p.m. CST
(Submitted Photo)
A Thomas Jefferson Elementary student read to Portia, a therapy dog. The reading time is designed to help improve the skills of students who struggle with reading.

Thomas Jefferson Elementary has implemented a new reading program through Therapy Dogs International called “Tail Waggin’ Tutors.” The purpose of this non-traditional resource is to improve skills of children struggling with reading.

Students are chosen through principal and teacher recommendation. A student is matched up with a dog and handler. The student meets with and reads to the dog and handler on a weekly basis. The handler assists the child with any difficulties during this reading activity. Through this interactive reading time, children’s scores improve, they build confidence in reading and it improves the child’s enjoyment of reading. The bonus derived from the program is the relationship developed between the child, dog and handler.

The dogs are absolutely reliable in their interaction with children. They have been tested and trained.

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