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 Learning to read? Try talking to a dog

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Steven_L
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PostSubject: Learning to read? Try talking to a dog   Sat Oct 24, 2009 4:53 pm

Meet Bailey. She's a registered therapy dog, but you won't find her in hospitals or nursing homes. Instead, Bailey makes weekly visits to libraries and schools. She sits quietly or snuggles up to kids as they read her a book. And no, she's not napping, and the kids don't have treats in their pockets. She's actually helping these children learn to read.

It sounds implausible. After all, dogs can't read. How could they possibly help someone learn a skill that they themselves can't grasp? But it's a growing trend, and it seems to be working.

The philosophy is simple. Children who are just learning to read often feel judged or intimidated by classmates and adults. But reading to a dog isn't so scary. It won't judge, it won't get impatient, it won't laugh or correct if the child makes a mistake. In a nutshell, dogs are simply excellent listeners. And for shy kids or slow readers, that can make all the difference.

Kathy Klotz is executive director of Intermountain Therapy Animals, which runs a nationwide program called R.E.A.D. -- Reading Education Assistance Dogs. She says there's another benefit of reading to the dogs that she didn't anticipate: confidence.

http://www.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/10/24/dogs.irpt/

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