Mansfield ISD Magazine Winter 2018/2019 - Page 26

Each student in the program reads aloud to a dog with the help of a trainer. THERAPY DOGS HELP STUDENTS BUILD READING SKILLS S ome Mansfield ISD students who need a little extra help with reading are visited by a few four-legged friends every week that provide additional support. The therapy dogs, provided by a local chapter of Pet Partners, visit the school every Wednesday morning. Staff members have received a lot of positive feedback from participants and their parents. Glenn Harmon Elementary School launched its Rover Reader program this school year. It is designed to encourage struggling readers to build confidence in reading aloud and build reading fluency. “Our first time that we had the dogs come, the kids came to school with bags of treats because they were excited to see their dogs,” Scott continued. Trenell Scott, assistant principal at Harmon Elementary School, started the initiative at her campus because she has seen the program work in other schools to address a student’s academic and emotional needs. Program organizers said they enjoy seeing the students bond with the animals while achieving their literacy goals. They hope the program will be a staple at the school for years to come. “The greatest benefit for the children is to build self-confidence,” said Scott. “Because the trainers are retired teachers and retired school counselors, there’s a mentoring component to it as well.” Rover Reader gives students the ability to read aloud in an unstressful setting. The children in the program said the canines help brighten up their day. “I love this program because it helped me, and it helped me be special,” said third-grader Kemarreon Carter. “It makes me feel happy and better from reading to the dog.” The students read to the canines for approximately 15 to 20 minutes. 23 M A NSFIELD ISD.O RG