Therapy dogs help New York immigrant kids clear reading hurdles

Maita reads with Leslie Hight, a therapy dog handler for New York Therapy Animals, and Izzy, a Reading Education Assistance Dog therapy dog, at Public School 57 in the Spanish Harlem section of New YorkBy Barbara Goldberg NEW YORK (Reuters) – Izzy rested his chin on the knee of third grader Aelane Vasquez at Public School 57 in the Spanish Harlem section of New York City on Monday and hung on every word she easily read aloud from a book that would have stumped her months ago. Therapy dogs like Izzy, a gray Havanese, are the heart, soul and wagging tail of a literacy program in schools and libraries called Reading Education Assistance Dogs (READ) that encourages young readers. "I love reading to Izzy because he listens to me and he doesn't make fun of me when I make a mistake," said Vasquez, 9, who read "Cam Jansen: The Mystery of the Circus Clown." Immigrant children face the added challenge of mastering English as a second language, a hurdle for many at P.S. 57, where families like Vasquez's hail from countries like Mexico, Dominican Republic and Ecuador, said officials from Intermountain Therapy Animals, which founded READ in 1999.

Animal and Pet News

May 17, 2016 2:37 am

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