Animals make ideal reading companions. Manchester Animal Shelter’s “Reading to Dogs” program provides a fun, non-judgmental environment where children can improve their literacy skills. Teachers report that children participating in Reading to Dogs demonstrate improved reading skills, decreased school absenteeism, increased frequency in the completion of homework assignments, and improved self-confidence.
Program Goals & Objectives
The main objective of this program is to provide a relaxed and “dog-friendly” atmosphere, which allows students to practice the skill of reading. Many of the children chosen for this program have difficulties reading and, as a result, have developed self-esteem issues. They are often self-conscious when reading aloud in front of other classmates.By sitting down next to a dog and reading to the dog, all threats of being judged are put aside. The child relaxes, pats the attentive dog, and focuses on the reading. Reading improves because the child is practicing the skill of reading, building self-esteem, and associating reading with something pleasant.
Benefits of the Program
- Improving the child’s reading skills is the major benefits of the program
- Building a child’s confidence
- Education in animal care- Education in animal welfare
How to Become a Reading to Dogs Volunteer
To become a Reading to Dogs volunteer you must enjoy children and children’s books and have the patience to coach a student through these one-on-one sessions. The program requires a regular commitment of time for the program to be successful. The Reading to Dogs animal is exceptionally social, gentle, smart and obedient. He must settle in nicely to a new setting, must love attention from strangers, and must like children. He is tolerant of any type of touch or action from adults and children. AKC Canine Good Citizen is required.