Woodland Kids Go to the Dogs– in a Good Way

Woodland Kids Go to the Dogs– in a Good Way
Woodland Kids Go to the Dogs– in a Good Way

           This fall, Woodland Elementary School in Hicksville kicked off what they anticipate will be a regular ritual, with students chomping at the bit to read to some cuddly new canine buddies. The school is conducting its first-ever Read to the Dogs program.

            Through Bideawee, therapy dogs and their owners are visiting the school on a monthly basis to give students the opportunity to read to a non-judgmental, receptive and loving audience. The practice of reading to dogs has long been considered an effective means to get children excited about reading, while also building their self-confidence and helping struggling readers practice and improve their literacy skills. 

            According to Principal Beth Swanson, Woodland’s program is tied into the school’s our character education initiative: students who demonstrate exceptional character traits above and beyond what is expected of them in school are identified and have their names placed into a raffle.

            “Every month, right before the dogs visit, we pull names from the raffle and selected students get to read to the pups,” said Swanson. “The children love it! It’s been a huge success!”

            The selected students have an opportunity to read some of their favorite books and stories to the dogs. Some even attempt to make the dogs feel right at home by choosing non-fiction books about dogs, or fiction books that have dogs as a main character.

            Each visiting dog’s owner is present to ensure that students safely engage their dogs.  Special thanks to Bideawee, the owners and their dogs for making these visits to Woodland possible.  (Go to Photo Gallery Page for more photos)