(CBS) — Books, computers, and even apps can help your children learn to read, but at 13 Chicago Public Schools, young students are becoming better readers thanks to dogs.
CBS 2’s Marissa Bailey reports learning to read is just more fun when your reading partner is a dog.
Volunteers from the non-profit reading program SitStayRead are helping teach kids to read using dogs.
Wrigley, Lolou and Pistascio are the patient partners helping second graders at Hughes Elementary School in Lawndale learn life’s most basic and important skill.
“We’ve found that kids who are reading out loud to dogs, experience less stress,” said Katie McLlvain, the director for SitStayRead.
Without stress, the program director says kids are able to immerse themselves in learning and a 2013 study shows it’s working.
“Our students improve at a rate that’s 47.8 percent greater with SitStayRead during the same eight week period than as students without our program,” said McLvain.
2nd grade teacher Miss Janise Randle says the biggest difference she has noticed is “The overall writing component… because now they are actually better at putting their ideas and thoughts down on paper.
For one hour each week for eight weeks, kids read in groups or echo read. Then break off into one-on-one sessions with the dogs who — unlike adults — don’t correct their mistakes.
The 11-year-old program is currently in 13 Chicago Public Schools. Volunteers are trained and dogs must pass a test before going into classrooms.
Here’s the most surprising part: this program is funded solely on donations with no grants and no help from the government.