Tag Archives: Reading Partner

Library therapy dogs help kids with reading

office dogs
Good listeners!

The stereotypical animal that is often associated with libraries (and librarians!) is the cat. And here at CMLE, we definitely love cats. But dogs can be even more helpful when it comes to libraries, and reading in general, especially when it comes to teaching literacy to kids.

This adorable Tweet sparked our curiosity. Just how much do dogs help kids with their reading skills? We also wondered where else in our area might dogs be interacting with kids, students, books, and libraries?

First, we discovered just how helpful dogs can be when it comes to assisting kids with their reading skills. This article from Public Libraries Online shares research done that states, “Children who read to dogs improved their own reading skills in comparison to children who did not read to dogs, based on the results of the Oral Text Reading for Comprehension Test” and even “reported a greater enjoyment of reading than children who did not read to dogs.” When kids are able to practice their reading skills out loud to a patient, non-judgmental listener (like a dog!) their reading improves, and just as importantly, their love of reading grows!

The organization Reading Education Assistance Dogs (READ) Minnesota works with “registered therapy animals who volunteer with their handler as a team, going to schools, libraries, and many other settings as reading companions for children” in order to help kids with their literacy and communication skills. Their site explains ways you can help the organization, and even how to become a READ team with your dog!

For real-life inspiration, we found a few instances of dogs and kids enjoying reading together. This article from MN Women’s Press tells the story of Lesa Hobright-Turner and her READ dog, Murphy, and their impact on a little girl with ADHD. The Hibbing Daily Tribune featured this article about kids reading with dogs at Keewatin Elementary school. The Rochester Public Library has the program “Sit, Stay, Read” that takes place the fourth Monday of the month from September – November. Finally, the Two Harbor’s Public Library has a program “Read to a Dog” that takes place on Fridays, featuring Lucy the dog: lucy-reading-dog

We’re sure there are more programs out there, and would love to hear about them! Do you know of, or participate in, any activity that features animals helping kids with their reading? Let us know!






Struggling Elementary Readers find Assistance in Personal Tutors

Summer ReadingMany educators see that there is a need to provide tutors to children who fall behind in their reading level.  As Tina Rosenberg of The New York Times says, “People disagree, quite strenuously, on the best curriculum for teaching children to read.  But all participants in the reading wars agree on some other things:  Early reading is crucial. . .and any reading curriculum works better if children who are struggling get the chance to work, one on one, with a tutor.”

Rosenberg’s article in The New York Times features two programs, Minnesota Reading Corps and Reading Partners, that are designed to help children who fall behind in their reading.  Minnesota Reading Corps proved most beneficial for kindergarten students, who “learned twice as many letter sounds in 16 weeks as children in a control group.”   Reading Partners proved to be best in assisting 2nd to 5th graders.

One reason these programs are so effective is the unique relationship between student and tutor.  “Children need to have that one person they can turn to, to say ‘I don’t understand’,” says Kristina Beecher.  Beecher is the principals of Public School 3 in Bedford-Stuyvesant, a neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York City.  Because of this relationship, Rosenberg says, absences matter and have an impact on the child’s learning progress.  While there are certainly things to improve upon, Minnesota should be proud to have one of the first programs like this.

Are you interested in becoming part of the Minnesota Reading Corps?  Check out our previous post, Reading and Math Tutors Needed!

Image credit: http://tinyurl.com/q78lalt, licensed under CC-BY-NC-SA 2.0