Dogs assist kids in learning to read

Posted By: Sarah Fili

For some students reading in class or in front of others can cause anxiety. That’s why one organization is introducing dogs into the mix.

"Hugh is an awesome dog!"

For some kids, learning how to read can be intimidating. The fear of messing up a word or not knowing how to pronounce something can cause embarrassment. That’s where Mimi Harvey with Healing Heart Therapy Dogs of Lincoln comes in.

"They get to come read to a non judgmental audience, the dog, and we all know that petting a dog makes you feel better, feel more relaxed, it helps them have a positive experience with reading and learn to enjoy it and have good memories with it," Harvey said.

The once a week 20 minute sessions give kids a chance to enjoy the experience of reading. For Kooper, a fourth grader, the program is a chance to practice reading skills with a non-judgmental companion.

"It felt like, soothing and nice to know that he was listening. For part of the time at least!" Kooper Barnes, a 4th grader, said.

Second grader Dayton’s parents found about the program on the library’s website and thought it was a great opportunity for their son to mix his two loves: reading and dogs.

"So I thought it sounded like fun and Dayton really likes dogs, and we really like dogs, so we thought it would be a really neat thing to do to bring him down here and he likes to read," Janice Maginn, Dayton’s Mom, said.

The organizer says it’s a rewarding experience for her and for Hugh!

"Its watching the children who come in and aren’t sure about reading the first week and by week six they’re running in to sit down with Hugh and they have their book already picked out they’re ready to go and ready to keep on with the stories," Harvey said.

The sessions are free. They’re 6 weeks long with one 20 minute meeting a week.

There are still slots available as long as you register in advance.