Isabelle and her owner Debbi Cole are members of Reading Paws, an organization dedicated to improving reading skills of elementary students by using therapy dogs.
There are more than 80 teams of dogs and owners in Florida, Georgia and Tennessee The students feel more comfortable reading to dogs than they do reading to people. Sometimes they tell the teachers that when they have to read out loud in class they pretend they’re reading to a dog.
Once a week Isabelle comes into the classroom and listens quietly as the children improve their reading skills. The students look forward to the private time and the individual attention. As the students finish reading they reward Isabelle with a treat for being so patient.
Reading dogs have been successfully used with students from preschool through college age. Controlled studies show that the presence of a dog lowers the blood pressure of the readers and improves reading skills by measurable numbers.
Researchers measured students’ scores from the beginning of the school year to the end of the school year as compared to those students who didn't participate. The percentage rise is much greater when you introduce the dogs. More of the story