Therapy dogs helping teach young children to read

The dogs provide a gentle ear for children to practice reading

(CNN) – Elementary school students are learning to read with the help of some four legged friends.

Therapy dogs like Rosie, Dazzle and Duncan visit Lynn road elementary a couple times a week for reading sessions like these.

Jeani Gray helped start helping paws in 2000. Their barks program has been in triangle schools ever since, and at Lynn road elementary since 2005.

Jeani Gray, Co-Founder and CEO of Helping Paws said, “Our dogs usually have at least eight months of training and are tested six to eight times before they enter the classrooms.”

The dogs provide a gentle ear for children to practice reading.

Gray continued saying, “By not correcting the child, they’re not getting tense and nervous. We’re not saying, ‘go back, read that again.’ We’re saying, ‘Oh Dazzle just didn’t understand that,’ or, ‘Dazzle wasn’t listening. Will you go back and read that again for Dazzle?'”

Jennifer Taylor, School Library Media Coordinator said, “Their confidence and self-esteem really seem to do much, much better when they’re reading with the dogs.”

Barks is in five wake county schools now, with 24 more hoping to get the program soon.

Jennifer Taylor, School Library Media Coordinator: “It impacts all of us working in the building. It seems like the whole school seems to get calmer just having their presence here.”