In response to a letter by Sylvia Bumiller, Dec. 7: Last week, a reader wrote in about the Sit, Stay and Read program and how well it works with getting kids motivated to read. What could be better than for Oak Park to have its very own READing program. With three sessions during the school year and two sessions during the summer, five specially trained teams from Oak Park’s Paws 4 Patients Animal Assisted Therapy Group work with children at the Dole Branch Library.

The program that we have here is called READ, Reading Education Assistance Dogs. This program was developed by Intermountain Therapy Animals in Salt Lake City. Out of 300 certified teams in the country, we have five right here in Oak Park, with three more in training.

The success rate and popularity of this program is obvious to the parents, teachers and librarians in town who have seen it in action. The students, usually between the ages of 6 and 9, look forward to working with their canine partner each week and come home beaming after a job well done.

All the handlers and dogs in the program must be certified therapy teams before they can apply to be a READ team. The program that we have here in Oak Park has been in place for almost two years and will soon be expanding to Hephzibah.

Come see us in action on Dec. 17, 10 a.m. at Dole Library.

Shirley Lieb and Liberty
Kelly Elvin and Sammy
Mari Mortensen and Snuggles
Elisabeth Bensfield and Buddy

Heather McGuinn and Jake

Join the discussion on social media!