A four-legged approach to reading

Jess Mitchell
Staff Writer

For many children, learning to read can be rough. That is why local volunteers are springing into action and taking a paws on approach to improving literacy in the community.

Every Tuesday from 4-6 p.m. the Newton public library located at 115 West C Street, will be hosting the Paws To Read program. This program helps young children to develop and improve their reading and comprehension skills with the use of certified therapy animals.

Retired school teacher Revonda Seitz along with her sister Peggy Seitz, a retired office worker are part of a group volunteering their time locally to promote literacy in the community. And with their trusty side-kicks Zachery- a Yorkshire Terrier, and Nicole- a Pomeranian, they are making a noticable difference.
By using therapy animals in this reading program, the children are made to feel comfortable and at ease as they read to the animal in the presence of the educator.

"As a school teacher, we often read in groups" said Revonda Seitz. "And in many cases, the slow readers would get picked on and made to feel embarrassed so they would shut down and not want to read. In this setting, the dogs don't laugh at them or make them feel embarrassed."
"The children are less intimidated when reading to the animals" said

April Green -Youth Service Librarian. "They are able to read without fear of embarrassment or mistakes."

This program not only helps kids to improve their reading skills, it also teaches them how to read as well.

"We read to those who are not able to read yet" said Peggy Seitz. "We just want them to develop a love for reading."

This is a free service that is available to all the children in the Newton and surrounding areas. The number of parents bringing their children to take advantage of this program is on the rise.

" I bring my daughters here every week" said Guadalupe Acevedo. " It really helps them a lot."

"It is a free resource that is fun, relaxing, and you see improvement" said Laura Driver -Library Service Specialist. "Why not use it?"

Because this is a free service that is open to the public, registration is required.