Intermountain Therapy Animals Reading Education Assistance Dogs (R.E.A.D.) wins $20,000 Readers' Choice Literacy Grant

intermountain-therapy-animals2 Do not underestimate the power of man’s best friend!  The winner of the first Readers’ Choice Literacy Grant is an innovative  program that uses therapy dogs to help improve kids reading, the Intermountain Therapy Animals (ITA) R.E.A.D. program.

The reading-challenged kids in the program often suffer from low self-esteem and view reading as a chore. But dogs don’t judge, so reading to them removes inhibitions and helps a child focus. It makes reading fun and creates a positive, memorable experience that stays with kids for a long time.

intermountain-therapy-animals In the R.E.A.D. program, each child reads aloud to a therapy dog in either their local library or school. The books are age and level appropriate, and often animal related in topic. After a child accomplishes the reading of ten books (which may take weeks, depending on skill level), they receive a brand new book of their choice that can be “pawtographed” by their canine reading companion. Thus, books are sent into the homes of the children. You can read all the details about the program here.

I had the pleasure of calling Kathy online casinos Klotz, Executive Directory of ITA, to deliver the news. (That was fun – it’s not every day I get to give away $20,000!). After she caught her breath, Kathy was good enough to compose a statement for our press release:

We are simply overjoyed to be chosen as recipients of the Readers” Choice Literacy Grant, and so grateful to Better World Books and every single person who voted for R.E.A.D. We know the competition was tight and every finalist had great merit.  Our goal is for every child to grow up loving books and reading, as the foundation for a lifetime of learning. Because of the great power of the human-animal bond, reading to a dog is an ideal way to build skills, confidence and, not least, great enthusiasm.

Well said, Kathy! Especially when referring to the competition participants – we received a host of proposals from so many organizations that are passionate about literacy – it was wonderful. You can read all the finalists’ proposals here. I’d like to thank everyone who participated, it is inspiring to see so many people out to improve our world through literacy!

12 Comments

  1. Dogs Rock!

  2. Kimberly Natal says:

    We have this program at our school. The volunteers are extraordinary! The children benefit greatly from this intervention. Thanks to everyone for voting.

  3. andy berube says:

    this is great program

  4. We have this program at our local library (SIT, STAY, READ). It is amazing to see the kids (and dogs) enjoying books so much.

  5. This is amazing. I had no idea such a program existed but what better way to learn to read and improve self-confidence than to read to a non-judgemental and loving being. Kudos to those organizations that have brought children, dogs and the love of books together. I am going to incorporate this in my home with my grandchildren. They will love it!

  6. That has to be the most beautiful thing I have ever heard, not only because of the reading skills but because of the abililty of dogs to contribute to a child in need of encouragement. What lucky children and lucky canine companions and what a lot of love must happen during those sessions.

  7. Once again we see how animals can be beneficial in healing people. This is a wonderful program and I’m always in awe of those compassionate humans who tap into such innovative ideas.

    Great work!

    Christine

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  10. Philip Payne says:

    What an innovative and fantastic idea… Man’s Best Friend to the rescue yet again! What better way to get kids reading, probably the most important thing they’ll ever do in building positive futures for themselves. I also had no idea that such a program existed. I hope to see it in Australia and worldwide very soon. Great stuff!

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