Antonia Malchik


To Foster a Love of Reading, Bring an Animal to the Classroom

Using a dog or rabbit to teach literacy can ripple out into the rest of a child’s learning process. #ProjectLiteracy

Norman West showcased the various therapy dogs children can read to at the library. Image via Flickr user Pioneer Library System.

Four years ago Craig Madison, a third grade teacher at El Verano Elementary School in Sonoma, California, was wrestling with a problem that’s become increasingly common. “We were trying to turn struggling readers, who had been discouraged by over-testing in school, back into readers who loved books and rediscovered reading for pleasure.” He and other teachers at the El Verano School started a Summer Reading Academy, which he says was a “resounding success” due to many factors, one of which was both crucial and unorthodox: “literacy dogs” and their human handlers from an organization called 4Paws.

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