Tail Waggin' Tutors help boost reading skills

Published: Friday, October 11, 2013 at 09:37 AM.

Every Tuesday Debbi Cole gets Isabelle all spruced up, puts the red working vest on her, and the two go to the Coastal Branch Library.

Isabelle does not seem to mind working. If she lays down quietly by a young person and dutifully stays still and quiet while being read to and petted, she gets a treat.

What a deal!

Isabelle is a large, fluffy white standard poodle, and the young readers love her. She is a therapy dog — a reading therapy dog — and it is her job to help soothe any anxiety a child may feel about reading, and at the same time, encourage enthusiasm for reading. Amazingly, it works.

On a recent Tuesday afternoon, Joshua Powers read to Isabelle and stroked her soft coat as he read, and as she listened quietly. It was Joshua's first time, and from his obvious enjoyment, it's doubtful it will be his last.

"I wanted to do this because it makes you smarter," said Joshua. "I'd rather read to a dog while petting it."

Joshua's mother, Leigh, said she said she thinks the addition of the dog helps facilitate reading.



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