|More information about the origins
and successes of the R.E.A.D. program in Utah is available
at the Intermountain Therapy Animals website.
I am struck over and over again with how beneficial the pet therapy is for our kids, both in terms of their emotional well being and in their learning processes.
Elizabeth Webster Safe Home
Reading Education Assistance
Education Assistance Dogs ® is a program
created by Intermountain
Therapy Animals in Salt Lake City,
Utah, that uses therapy animals to improve the literacy
skills of children. Story Tails is a registered
R.E.A.D. program and provides additional training for registered
therapy animal teams.
These special animals volunteer
with their owners as teams, offering children
an opportunity to improve their reading in a
which has proven not only effective but fun. In addition to
being registered as Pet Partners, teams have additional training
in the Story Tails R.E.A.D. program.
Getting Involved With Your Pet
If you’re already a registered therapy
consider these qualities of what a good R.E.A.D. team
looks like, so you can consider whether this
might be a good fit for you and your therapy companion.
- Therapy Animal Qualities
- Calm, quiet, attentive and comfortable in low-key setting
- Able to deal with close and unexpected encounters with
large groups of rambunctious children
- Solid obedience skills
- Tolerant of chaotic environments and sudden loud noises
- Tolerant of tugging, pulling, and exuberant handling
- Neutral to presence of toys and lunch remnants in trash
- Human Teammate Qualities
- Enjoy children
- Be a competent reader and love to read
- Willingness to get to know the children
- Required Commitment
- Time commitments typically are for the duration of the
school year or an ongoing library program
- Grooming commitment as a desirable reading companion
and role model
interested? "R.E.A.D. ® -
The Essential Prerequisites" is
a two page pdf document with a comprehensive list of team
If you're interested in becoming a R.E.A.D.® team with
your pet but you aren't yet registered check out
the other resources on our website, come to a Tails of Joy
meeting to find out more and
meet some therapy teams, or contact
us for more information.
Research with therapy animals indicates that children with
low self-esteem are often more willing to interact with an
animal than another person. Further, during such interaction
they are inclined to forget about their limitations. There
are also physiological benefits to interacting with animals,
including increased relaxation and lower blood pressure.
The premise of the R.E.A.D. program is that children will
find reading to an animal less intimidating, a special time
for them that is helpful and fun and will become a positive
environment in which learning is facilitated.
October 24, 2009, Plainville, CT
Tails of Joy sponsored a Story Tails R.E.A.D. event with guest reader Rick Aruzza at the Plainville Public Library.
In addition to telling the tale of how Sparky came into his life, Mr. Aruzza read his most recent Sparky adventure, "The Great Candy Caper, Starring Sparky and Her Pals" to a delighted audience. Children then had individual reading sessions with Tails of Joy R.E.A.D. dogs.
Rick Aruzza is the author of five children's books for beginning/young readers featuring Sparky's adventures, "Sparky's Walk," "No Rest for Sparky," "Sparky Coast to Coast," "Sparky's Big Race," and "The Great Candy Caper, Starring Sparky and Her Pals." (The first four are also in Spanish, "El Paseo de Sparky," "No Descanso Para Sparky," "Sparky de Costa a Costa," and "La Gran Carrera de Sparky.") Rick has done numerous book readings in schools and stores coast to coast (including San Francisco). And $1 from the sale of each book is donated to Adopt-A-Dog, as well as other animal organizations, as a thank you for saving such a wonderful dog. For more info about the books, visit Sparky's Web site, sparkyswalk.com