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July 16, 2018

Therapy Dogs Help 1st Graders Build Reading Confidence


MINETTO – Pets can sometimes make the best reading partners.

First grader Bethany Gower receives a thank you kiss from therapy dog, Gus, after she read him “Biscuit Wins a Prize,” as part of the school’s monthly reading program, in partnership with PAWS of CNY.

First grader Bethany Gower receives a thank you kiss from therapy dog, Gus, after she read him “Biscuit Wins a Prize,” as part of the school’s monthly reading program, in partnership with PAWS of CNY.

That is what Minetto Elementary School first graders have found, thanks to a partnership with PAWS of CNY, an organization dedicated to educating the community on benefits of animal-assisted therapy.

Once per month, PAWS of CNY members and their service canine or feline have visited with the young students as they practiced improving their reading skills.

Teacher Pam Delfino said the program has boosted the children’s confidence, enjoyment of reading and their speaking skills since the beginning of the 2017-18 school year.

During the program’s May visit, some students even felt comfortable asking the animal owners for help pronouncing big words.

Cooper Vincent reads an animal book to Flyer, a golden retriever, who has been a therapy dog for eight years, as part of Minetto Elementary School’s first grade reading program with PAWS of CNY. The initiative helps students build their reading confidence.

Cooper Vincent reads an animal book to Flyer, a golden retriever, who has been a therapy dog for eight years, as part of Minetto Elementary School’s first grade reading program with PAWS of CNY. The initiative helps students build their reading confidence.

Hugs and kisses were also given to Gus, a Saint Bernard mix; Flyer, a golden retriever, and other animals as each student took a turn reading them a book.

Stephanie Rice, Delfino’s colleague, said the students have blossomed into terrific readers.

All animals involved with the PAWS of CNY project have proper certifications and went through additional screening to ensure they had the proper temperament for the relaxed setting at the elementary school.

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