In schools, libraries, and other settings across Sarasota County, children are improving their reading skills with the help of some unlikely teachers: dogs.
The premise of HSSC’s Reading Fur Fun Program is that reading to dogs reduces a child’s fear of reading. As reading partners, dogs provide a warm, nurturing atmosphere where children can stumble over words without criticism. Dogs are nonjudgmental and supportive, regardless of the reader’s accuracy. This unconditional acceptance allows children to relax and begin to enjoy reading.
Reading Fur Fun visits follow a standard pattern: HSSC’s certified Pet Therapy Teams meet at the school or facility. The human handler sits on a chair or on the floor next to the therapy dog. The children come in—one child per pet therapy team—and sit next to the dog. Children read for several minutes, sometimes hugging or petting the dogs, sometimes just sitting close to them.
Here are some places we’ve brought Reading Fur Fun to recently:
You may also be interested in these other HSSC Humane Education Programs: