There is just something about sitting and reading to a dog that eliminates all fear that a student may have about reading. While fear should not be associated with reading, it sometimes is for early or struggling readers, particularly when they have to read aloud to someone else. Students may struggle with fluency, pronunciation, word recognition, or other elements of reading. However, many of these fears are wiped out with the wag of a tail, the soft touch of fur, and the gentle listening from that furry four-legged friends.
Sadie, a Border Collie, and Elliot, a Lab, are both highly qualified and trained as expert listeners. They provide judgement-free listening for children ages six and older every other week at the Hickory Flat Library. In order for Sadie, Elliot, and other furry friends to visit Sequoyah Regional Library System branches throughout the area, they must first participate in reading dog training.
One organization that provides training for therapy dogs and their volunteer owners to provide services is CAREing Paws. CAREing Paws stands for Canines Assisting Rehabilitation and Education. Dogs involved in CAREing Paws have the opportunity to join the Reading Education Assistance Dogs (R.E.A.D.) program. Some of the dogs that have been through the R.E.A.D. program and their human volunteers visit Hickory Flat, R.T Jones, Woodstock, Ball Ground, and Rose Creek Libraries on a regular basis. In addition to visiting the local libraries in Woodstock and Towne Lake, CAREing Paws dogs also assist in area schools and healthcare facilities.
To find out more about the Reading Dogs program visit the Sequoyah Regional Library. Reading appointments may be scheduled up to two weeks in advance for children to have the opportunity to read to a furry friend.