I used to live in Woodinville (northeast of Seattle) and was lucky enough to have a job working for Becky Bishop – great dog trainer, dedicated and motivated to help people enjoy their dogs and be active with them. She headed up this great program called Reading With Rover where people take their Delta certified Animal Assisted Therapy dog to places like Borders Books and Music to have children practice reading to their dog.
What better way can you think of to take pressure off of children struggling to read than to give them a calm and cuddly dog to listen to and not judge their reading? Similar programs are starting in other states since research has found some very cool stats about this program (check them out on the website’s More About Reading With Rover page – my favorite is that they have seen improved hygiene!). But not just anybody can do it – you need to be a Pet Partner which means every dog that takes part in it is well trained, enjoys this type of work, and is going to be a stellar representative of the program. Now just if we had something like that here…
I think we face more challenges in North Idaho with a group like this because frankly, North Idaho just isn’t into books like other cities that have bad weather and limited access to the great outdoors. I do think that there is potential for something like this at the public library or an elementary school library if they could tag onto some sort of event that is already happening such as Story Time. Maybe we could just spread the word to children struggling with reading that its a lot easier to read to your pets! If there is a group of parents / dog owners that are interested in starting a group check it out by clicking here. We all learn at different rates and some of us just need some space to relax and concentrate.
Click here to watch a video about the program.