Roxy Therapy Dogs have been comforting children in Central Bucks School District’s elementary schools for the past 12 years, as part of their Literacy for All program. This program pairs a certified therapy team with a class to give children an opportunity to practice their fluency by reading to “their” dog each week. The therapy dogs are there to create a nonjudgmental and welcoming environment for the students to read aloud. A recent study by the Human Animal Behavior Research Initiative Foundation indicates that after petting a dog for 15 minutes, a person’s blood pressure decreases by 10%. For a child who struggles with fluency, this means they are able to read more confidently and with less anxiety. 2000 students in 116 classes in CBSD benefit from this experience with Roxy Therapy Dogs every week. Students and teachers alike witness the positive impact that the Roxy Therapy Dogs program has on not only fluency, but on students’ interest in reading. “The impact of Roxy Reading on my first-grade students has been astounding. They are motivated and excited to read each week! Even my most reluctant reader can’t wait to pick out his books to read to Anya. The program has also helped their fluency and expression because of the repeated readings they do together. Additionally, the program has motivated several students to explore the world of nonfiction because they want to learn more about the dogs and how to care for them. However, the most powerful impact has been in our overall classroom environment. Kids are more excited than ever to come in to school and count down the days until “our dog” comes in. Thank you, Roxy Reading, for being such an important and beneficial part of our classroom!” Alexandra Zucchero Elementary Teacher, First grade Kutz Elementary
Article and photos submitted by Maddi Fleck, courtesy of Inspiring Teens Magazine.