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Therapy dogs help 1st graders build confidence

Pets can sometimes make the best reading partners.
That is what Minetto Elementary School first-graders have found, thanks to a partnership with PAWS of CNY, an organization dedicated to educating the community on benefits of animal-assisted therapy. Once per month, PAWS of CNY members and their service canine or feline have visited with the young students as they practiced improving their reading skills.
Teacher Pam Delfino said the program has boosted the children’s confidence, enjoyment of reading and their speaking skills since the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year. During the program’s May visit, some students even felt comfortable asking the animal owners for help pronouncing big words. Hugs and kisses were also given to Gus, a Saint Bernard mix; Flyer, a golden retriever, and other animals as each student took a turn reading them a book.
Stephanie Rice, Delfino’s colleague, said the students have blossomed into terrific readers.
All animals involved with the PAWS of CNY project have proper certifications and went through additional screening to ensure they had the proper temperament for the relaxed setting at the elementary school.

Cooper Vincent reads an animal book to Flyer, a golden
retriever who has been a therapy dog for eight years, as part of
Minetto Elementary School’s first-grade reading program with
PAWS of CNY. The initiative helps students build their reading

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