Linda Pattison, Dawn Friedal and Janice Firling are the three driving forces behind a program that engages, inspires and motivates children to read. They have been instrumental in promoting literacy by pairing dogs with children throughout Wake County. The See Spot Read program currently has 232 certified therapy dog teams that visit schools and libraries to provide encouragement and motivation to children as they learn how to read. Research has demonstrated that there is a powerful correlation between academic performance and pet therapy programs, such as See Spot Read. There are three critical factors that impact performance that “data” simply can’t measure on a standardized test, but that have a profound effect on achievement. The See Spot Read program, (and others like it) addresses these three factors, and helps students climb the ladder of success, one rung at a time.
Learning to read is not a “natural” ability. It must be taught. Having a dog listen while students read (1) helps build confidence, especially in struggling readers. Confidence is essential to persevering. Animals don’t judge! This, in turn, (2) reduces stress, and a “mistake” simply becomes a practice opportunity. We all know, that the more we practice a skill the better we become at it. Last, but not least, being around animals or having one as a pet (3) helps children develop, empathy, responsibility, enhances social skills, and even increases their emotional well being. This really isn’t surprising, considering how animals change the relationship dynamics of everyone around them. Have you ever noticed what happens when a cute puppy or kitten appears on the scene? Animals bring out the best in people and can help children find their voice simply by “being” by their side. Reading is like riding a bike, and dogs provide the training wheels that help many students become successful readers!
The leadership team is comprised of 3 great leaders, each with a specialized area of expertise.