What is R.E.A.D.?

The Reading Education Assistance Dogs® program improves children’s
reading and communication skills by employing a powerful method:
reading to a dog.  But not just any dog.  R.E.A.D. dogs are registered
therapy animals who volunteer with their handler as a team, going to
schools, libraries, and many other settings as reading companions for
Intermountain Therapy Animals, launched R.E.A.D. in 1999 as the first
comprehensive literacy program built around the idea of reading to
dogs, and the program has been spreading rapidly ever since!

How Does It Work?

R.E.A.D. utilizes registered therapy animals who have been trained and
tested for health, safety, appropriate skills, and temperament.  When
these special animals come to hear children read, it’s fun!  And that
makes all the difference.

But Why Dogs?

Learning to read is often less about intellectual limitation than
about overcoming fears.  Animals are ideal reading companions because

Help increase relaxation and lower blood pressure
Listen attentively
Do not judge, laugh, or criticize
Allow children to proceed at their own pace
Are less intimidating than peers

When a R.E.A.D. dog is listening, the environment is transformed, a
child’s dread is replaced by eager anticipation, and learning occurs.
The handler is a skilled facilitator, too – shifting performance
pressure off the child and providing support, while the child gets the
supervised reading practice necessary to build vocabulary, increase
understanding of the material, and gain fluency as a reader.