Laying quietly on the carpet in the back of the library, with his red bandana fastened around his neck, a therapy dog named Truman patiently listens to DPS first graders read to him. One by one, even the shyest of students sit next to him and read aloud from their book.
Once they finish, students give Truman a pat on the head and say goodbye.
The program is called PAWS for Reading and it turns this friendly black dog into a special reading assistant for the school. Truman visited DPS once a month since November, giving every first grader the opportunity to practice their reading with him.
“Reading to Truman is very motivating for students,” said first grade teacher Karen Treiber. “It helps to improve their reading fluency and communication skills. It is an amazing experience for our first graders and even early emergent readers are willing to read.”
Truman, a black Labrador and mastiff mix, also visits Green Meadow and local senior centers.
The PAWS for Reading program is coordinated by parent volunteer Amy Spairana.