The public libraries in Indianapolis have stumbled upon a very popular program with young people: Paws To Read. It gives them the opportunity to read to specially trained therapy dogs in a no judgment zone. Dogs and their handlers are specially trained so kids can open a book without fear because the dog isn't going to judge them.
"In the schools, some of the students struggle with their reading. They're reading below their reading level. By getting them to come in and read to a dog and be excited about that process, we see their reading levels jump significantly throughout the school year with the kids that are in our program," said Executive Director Pam Burton. And one mom is thrilled with the program saying her children read more challenging books, they speak better, and their confidence has grown.
"It helped them a lot. They can be shy around me. Or they can act like they're not as strong, and they want Mom to read to them. And so suddenly they did have to step up and pick up books they were capable of and not just saying, 'no Mom, you read to me'."