Dog Helps Kids Learn To Read

Tuesday, November 11th 2008, 5:16 pm
By: News On 6

By Rick Wells, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Sometimes what young readers need to become more proficient is someone to simply listen to them read.  It turns out Bozzie, a big white puff ball of a dog, is a pretty good listener.  Alejandra Ibarra spent part of Tuesday reading a book to Bozzie.

Bozzie is a nine-year-old Samoyed. He's a registered therapy dog in the READ Program.

READ stands for Reading Education Assistance Dogs.  Sharon Wilson and Bozzie are a team.  They come to MacArthur Elementary a couple of times a month to help in a program with a basic concept that is so simple.

"Children read to the dogs.  That's it," said Sharon Wilson.

The dogs are a perfect reading companion because they are not judgmental.  They don't laugh or criticize.  They just listen.

"If there is a program you can get going that makes kids want to read; you're all about it," said teacher Kristine Cummings.

Kristine Cummings teaches kindergarten at MacArthur.  She was instrumental in getting the program going.  She says the kids love it.  The only problem is the number of kids who can participate is limited.

"You kind of choose a child who is reading who needs that little bit of encouragement.  That little bit of practice," said teacher Kristine Cummings.

Students read to Bozzie about 15 minutes then they go back to class and the next student comes in.

School officials say Bozzie has had a positive influence on reading interest.  More kids are looking for books and Bozzie is looking for his next reader.