Therapy Dogs Help Students Learn to Read

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

SAN DIEGO, Ca. -- Some California elementary students are getting some help with reading. Their tutors aren't teachers, they're four-legged friends.

Every Friday, seven therapy dogs come to Solana Highlands Elementary School. One student says it's easier for her to read to the dog.

"It helps me relax and it helps me read the book," said student Jessica Zevallos.

The school's reading specialist says eliminating anxiety over reading is the key to why the new program works.

"The animal is not going to judge them," said Emily Glassford-Valenzano. "The animal is not going to correct them or make fun of them."

The school's principal started Therapy Dog Fridays two months ago. Based on the program's early success, he now wishes he'd started the program five years ago when he first became principal.

"I want to give opportunities for all kids to be successful," he said. "This is just another avenue to do that."

A recent study found third graders in Northern California who read to dogs once a week for ten weeks saw a 12 percent improvement in reading skills.

The program at Solana Highlands is free to the school and the dog owners & animals volunteer their time.
Both dogs and owners have to pass a test and background check and be licensed once a year.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.