Dogs helping kids with reading - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dogs helping kids with reading

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL)-- Therapy dogs are often used to bring smile to patients in hospital and nursing homes.  But those same pooches are now using their abilities to help some eastern Iowa kids with their reading.

Dogs are known as man's best friend.  And now some eastern Iowa students will recognize canines as great reading partners.  That's because a group of therapy canines are being used as companions in the "Reading Education Assistance Dogs" or "READ" program at the Cedar Rapids Public Library.

"They love the dogs and enjoy reading to them.  It's not like they're in school and you've got an adult or teacher there or your peers listening to you.  So I just think the stress level is gone," said READ volunteer Kathy Gilliland.

And that allows any fears the kids might have about their reading ability to melt away.

"The dog just calms them down and they can really start to improve their reading.  And hearing their own voices read is just amazing," said READ volunteer Sara Tokheim.

And for kids who struggle or are just learning to read, practicing with the pooches helps build their confidence while improving their skills.

"Reading with dogs.. It's really cool, and they listen really well," said READ participant Mercedes Turek.

And with a little reassurance in their abilities from their loveable literary listeners, kids also become more interested in reading books, thereby helping contribute to solid life-long literacy.

The READ program is free.  And will be offered the second Sunday of each month at the Cedar Rapids Public Library in the Westdale Mall.  Pre-registration is not required, but recommended.  To learn more, call the library at 319-398-5123.

KWWL Reporter:  Kera Mashek

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