Starting today, Monday, March 2 is Read Across America week. Its now in its 12th year, and the program focuses on motivating children to read. The National Education Association sponsors it, and it is celebrated starting on March 2 since it is the birthday of Dr. Seuss. Maddie and I will be visiting and reading to seven 1st and 2nd grade classes and over 160 children as part of ARF’s therapy dog program. We hope to motivate children to read to their pets.
Maddie goes to ARF’s All Ears Reading (their Read to Rover program) every Monday where children read to her for about an hour. I have been so amazed at how much confidence children gain by reading to an animal. Maddie doesn’t judge, doesn’t correct, but just listens and lets children pet her while they are reading to her. She has her own little “reading blanket” and fluffs it up to her satisfaction when we get there and seems to love having the children sit down next to her and read to her (well, actually I think she just likes the attention, but I tell the children how much she loves their stories).
The children even show her the pictures in their books and really believe she is totally involved in their story.
But in the Read Across America program we’ll visit elementary schools this week, and I’ll read a story to the children while Maddie lays on her blankie next to me to show children how they can read to their dog, cat, rabbit, bird, etc. Many members on this Forum have kids of their own, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, etc. I’d really like to urge you to encourage these children to read to their pets, their neighbor’s pets, your pets, etc. I can’t tell you how much progress in self confidence and love of reading these children (many with reading disabilities) have. Its just a terrific thing. Maddie and I are leaving in an hour or so to go to our first class, and I’ll let you know how our week goes!