This short piece was found in the December 11, 2006 Newsweek. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15994155/site/newsweek/
A month ago, 8-year-old Connor Schultz could read 45 words a minute. Today he’s up to 93. The reason? A 4-year-old longhaired dachshund named Ruby who, once a week, visits Connor’s school in Schenectady, N.Y., and sits with him while he reads aloud. She doesn’t judge or correct him, and Connor has an audience he feels comfortable reading to.
Ruby is one of 16,000 certified therapy dogs participating in reading-assistance programs at schools and libraries across the country, as educators have begun tapping into the calming effect dogs have on us. “He curls up with [the kids] and they read him a story,” says Louisville, Ky., instructor Mary Roberts of a Welsh corgi named Zoom, who is calming worried readers at New Castle Elementary. “You can just see their anxiety disappear.”
A few thoughts:
- When I shared this with Grace, her eyes absolutely lit up. Grace has begun reading short words and is quite nervous when she reads aloud. What better way to become more comfortable reading that to a dog? She suggested we use our neighbor’s dog, Molly. The problem is that Molly probably won’t sit still long enough to be read to so it may have a negative affect.
- Does this remind you of the importance of just listening to people without correcting them, asking too many questions or just waiting until they are finished so that you can share your personal story? It reminds me of how desperate we all are for someone to listen to us. Why else would I write this down on a blog so that people can read it?