Many students in our community are literacy challenged. Children who fall behind their grade level in reading by third and fourth grade are already on a higher risk path to dropping out of school, dependence on public support, and legal difficulties. This often impacts their self-esteem and research shows that they experience heightened anxiety trying to read out loud in front of their peers. This discourages them from reading and compounds their situation.
Through years of successful use of animal assisted reading we know children are more motivated, relaxed, and willing to read to a familiar, accepting, animal who doesn’t laugh at mistakes, or make fun of them. Programs that provide this opportunity have clearly demonstrated success in building literacy and self-esteem. This gift of strengthened literacy and a new found enjoyment for reading has the potential to change a child’s future.
The StoryTails Literacy Program and The Pet Partner Read with Me™ Program pair a registered therapy team with a child weekly throughout the school year to provide one to one reading practice in a safe nurturing environment during their school day. Often teams meet with their student(s) in the school library to read a teacher or librarian selected book for 30 minutes each week. Generally students are in the third or fourth grade.
Registered therapy teams may also read with children at libraries in our service area. This may be especially helpful in encouraging reading over holidays and summer and in familiarizing children and families with the many library resources available to them. Any current Local Therapy Team may participate in StoryTails after completing an online training class and submitting the related content mastery assessment to the StoryTails Chair. The StoryTails Chair will assist you in establishing a school or library site.
The StoryTails Chair will also assist Pet Partner Teams to become literacy champions by helping them connect with The Pet Partners Read with Me Program and supporting establishing a site. The StoryTails Chair will also work with community schools and libraries interested in initiating an animal assisted reading program.
Please contact us if you want to participate, request more information, or wish to have one of our teams come to your school or library.