A little while ago we were lucky enough to host two Reading Partner Teams from Dog B.O.N.E.S., a Massachusetts Therapy Dog Non-Profit Corporation. Brittany and Anne, the two dog owners, gave workshop attendees insight into what it is like to be part of a Reading Partner Team, along with their wonderful dogs Charley and Mariah.
Brittany and Anne shared stories of watching young readers open up to the dogs in ways that the didn’t often to do with people–because dogs do not judge when you read aloud, they only listen. The women talked about the process of becoming a Reading Partner Team–what kind of temperament a dog needs to have, and what the owner’s role is during the reading session. For the most part, the owner is just there to supervise the interaction with the dog, and they take great care not to correct or interfere with the reading, as the practice of reading to the dog is about building confidence.
Workshop attendees posed questions about the children’s progress in reading comprehension, and while Anne and Brittany are not privy to the official testing that students in schools go through after participating in a Reading Partners program, they have seen most students make great strides in confidence, comprehension and even comfort level with animals. Anne also discussed the work Mariah has done in other settings, like correctional facilities, and how the dog’s presence there can be therapeutic as well. Brittany and Anne’s passion for their work with young people and beyond really shined through in the conversation, and we look forward to having them back again.
After a great conversation that lasted about an hour, workshop participant hung around to spend a little extra time with Charley and Mariah. Because, after all, everyone can use a little dog therapy–especially stressed out students! Check out the slideshow below for more pictures of the event.