PAWS 4 Reading

What? Dogs Can't Read!
Of course they can't. But they can be great listeners. And their presence creates an inviting and motivating environment:

  • relaxed
  • comfortable
  • safe
  • nonjudgmental
  • empowering, and
  • FUN!

What is PAWS 4 Reading?

The PAWS 4 Reading program improves children's reading and communications skills by employing a powerful method; reading to a dog. But not just any dog.

PAWS Therapy dogs are certified therapy animals who volunteer with their owner/handlers as reading companions for children.

Today, hundreds of certified therapy dogs are working throughout the United States in grass root and national organizations providing an attentive ear for children.

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How Does It Work?

PAWS 4 Reading utilizes certified therapy animals who have been trained and tested for health, safety, appropriate skills, and temperament. When these special animals come to hear children, it's fun! And that makes all the difference.

But Why Dogs?

Learning to read is often less about intellectual limitation than about overcoming fears. "Fear can destroy intelligence," says educator William Ayers.

Animals are ideal reading companions because they:

  • help increase relaxation and lower blood pressure
  • listen attentively
  • do not judge, laugh or criticize
  • allow children to proceed at their own pace
  • are less intimidating than peers

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The Results

When a PAWS Therapy dog is listening, the environment is transformed, a child's dread is replaced by eager anticipation, and listening occurs. The handler provides support while the child gets the supervised reading practice necessary to build vocabulary, increase understanding of the material, and gain fluency as a reader.

When Does It Happen?

PAWS 4 Reading is held on the first Saturday of every month at 11:00 am at the Ouachita Valley Branch Library in West Monroe, LA.