read to rover


What is Read to Rover?

Our program is simple in concept: one great therapy pet, one skilled handler, and one child, sitting together on a blanket reading a book. But the results of this simple act are powerful.

For a child who is self-conscious about reading out loud, Read to Rover can help to eliminate the fear of being laughed at or criticized by peers or family. Take away that fear, and reading out loud suddenly is fun.

Books and new words become something exciting to share when you read to a pet. Simply put, Read to Rover builds a love of reading, and that is a skill that will last a lifetime. 



What are some of the benefits of Read to Rover?

The benefits from Read to Rover are impressive. Great improvement is typically shown in both reading skills and comprehension, along with improved communication. Some bonus benefits are:

  • Higher self-esteem.
  • Increased confidence levels.
  • Improved relationships with teachers, peers and family.
  • Improvements in attendance and hygiene.

In addition, children with a fear of animals get the chance to see a gentle pet with their friends and classmates. They see how much their peers enjoy their time with the pet, and before long, they want to read to an animal, too.

Read to Rover breaks through boundaries and opens doors on so many levels. Children go through life being judged, rated, evaluated, graded and tested. With an animal by their side, they are given a sense of being accepted.

With Read to Rover, there are no judgments, just a happy animal enjoying a child's voice. 

Why does Read to Rover work so well?

Read to Rover supports and builds literacy in very special ways. First and foremost, the presence of a Read to Rover dog creates the perfect learning environment.

Here's how it works:

  • Petting an animal can lower blood pressure, heart rate and stress levels.
  • Dogs are great listeners. Animals never laugh or make fun of the reader if they make a mistake or struggle.
  • Children start to associate reading out loud with fun and anticipation, instead of fear and dread.
  • Children realize that the dogs don't have to be there, unlike a teacher or a parent. The Read to Rover animals just simply want to be with them. 

What we learn is influenced and organized by our emotions. Two things have been proven to have a key role in the process of learning: a state of calm, relaxed alertness, and the presence of positive emotions. The better we feel, the easier we learn.




The history of Read to Rover

The Coulee Region Humane Society Pet Therapy Program began in 1985 with a core mission of touching lives, and providing love and companionship on four paws.

Over the years, we have found new and wonderful ways to enrich the lives of our community and to mentor the human-animal bond. Among them is a very special program we call Read to Rover.

Our Read to Rover program developed quietly over the years and launched officially in 2005. Designed to support a positive and safe learning environment for young readers, it has become a tool for many of our area schools and libraries to encourage a love of books, words and literacy. 

In 2010, we reached another milestone in our program by achieving Affiliate status with R.E.A.D. (Reading Education Assistance Dogs). They are the leader in this field of animal assisted reading education.


Where can you find Read to Rover programs?

  • Elementary schools
  • Libraries
  • Boys and Girls clubs
  • Childcare centers
  • Alternative education programs