The Reading Education Assistance Dogs (R.E.A.D.) program improves children's reading and communication skills by employing a powerful method: reading to a dog.
But not just any dog. R.E.A.D. dogs are registered therapy animals who volunteer with their owner/handlers as a team, going to schools, libraries and many other settings as reading companions for children.
R.E.A.D. sessions allow teams of human and dog volunteers to visit with children and motivate them to learn and read in a non-judgemental environment. If a child stumbles when they read to an adult, they often feel judged and lose confidence - but... read to a dog and all that changes. If they mis-pronounce a word or mix up the sentence - the dog loves the reader just the same... and the child knows it! Confidence builds - they can read the sentence again, improving skill and building confidence.
Today, thousands of registered R.E.A.D. teams work throughout the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and beyond. R.E.A.D. is one of those ideas that, in the words of Bill Moyers, "pierces the mundane to arrive at the marvelous."
Intermountain Therapy Animals, a nonprofit organization, launched R.E.A.D. in 1999 as the first comprehensive literacy program built around the appealing idea of reading to dogs, and the program has been spreading rapidly and happily ever since!
More info here