Therapy Dogs Help Struggling Students Get Comfortable With Reading

No matter how nervous you feel, a dog won't care if you stutter or mumble.

And for a group of lucky students in Fletcher, North Carolina, dogs may be the answer to curing shyness while boosting reading skills.

The Times-News Online reports the town's local library regularly offers the chance for young bookworms to read to patient, friendly therapy canines.

Rachelle Sher, owner of a helpful Spitz mix named Springer, told the paper the freedom to read without pressure can change the way children feel about books.

And, of course, even the youngest library visitors get involved.

She said,

I've seen a 3-year-old flip the pages and tell him an elaborate story while they're sifting through the pages, making it up as they went along. It's about getting kids interested in books, or keeping them interested in books.

Spitz works with fellow pups Solange and Virgil, both certified by Therapy Dogs International. They sit quietly and provide happy doggy-smiles whenever they're needed most.

And while the Fletcher Library experienced great success with the program, it's only one of many to combine pets and reading.

For example, in Janesville, Wisconsin, a group of middle-schoolers called the Washington Whisker Whisperers regularly read to cats at a local humane society.

The Humane Society of Jacksonville, Florida does the same: Readers from ages 8 to 13 are invited to join the Pawsitive Reading Program.

With the help of furry friends, children across the country are learning to love both reading and animals. It's a win-win.

Citations: Struggling Students Read To Therapy Dogs, Find Confidence In Judgment-Free Zone (Huffington Post)