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Reading Is Fundamental

We’re here to help the struggling human population once again. This time…to help the young ‘uns learn how to read.bo writing

Donna Conrad of Redding is president of Prescription: Pets, a north state nonprofit that is looking to use therapy dogs to help improve children’s literacy.

So how does the program work?

The child comes into the setting with the volunteer team; the handler can train the dog to put its paw on the book. The child reads to the dog, who’s not judgmental. You kind of have to coach the child through the eyes of the dog.

Q. What kinds of dogs will participate?

We have all dogs – dachshunds, terriers, collies, Scottish deerhounds, lots of poodles. Totally gentle, totally friendly. (They must be) reliable, controllable and predictable.

OK…so in order to participate I would need to be totally gentle (check), totally friendly (check), reliable (check), controllable (hmmm, I guess that’s a check) and predictable (that’s a borderline call but I’ll give myself the benefit of the doubt…check).

Hey, I think I qualify!!

Q. So what is it about dogs that can encourage a child to read?

They’re not judgmental…the dogs don’t care if you have a bedhead or bad breath. And they’re good listeners.

What? I can’t be judgemental? Knowing my luck I’ll get a kid with bedhead and the bad breath! Hey why don’t we teach these kids to shower and brush their teeth before teaching them to read? Just a thought.
Since it appears that I may be a bit too judgemental too help, maybe you can help out instead by visiting http://prescriptionpets.org

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