Stacy Glover a sixth grade teacher at the Rocky Point Middle School has been trying to think of a way to enhance the way her students learn. She set a goal of coming up with a curriculum or a lesson plan that would help to build their confidence and make them better readers.
Then it hit her, use a dog. A dog is like live stuff animal to students. So Glover brought in a 6-year-old Labrador to help students focus on reading.
As part of the building’s Systems 44 and Read180 program, the students will have the chance to practice reading aloud to Eileen twice a month throughout the school year. Working both in small groups and individually, the students will take turns practicing this important skill as part of their participation in the program. The idea of reading to the puppy gets the children excited and more enticed to read then they ever were before.
The district said Glover has been "really looking forward to this new initiative" because it is designed to help students build upon their already established skills.
“At the secondary level, students don’t often have as much ‘real aloud’ time as they would in the younger grades, yet that is an important skill for them to master," said Glover to the district. "By practicing with a captive audience, such as the dog, they will be able to build presentation confidence and enhance their oral language skills and fluency. We also hope it will build their motivation for reading and help them feel more confident as readers.”
Eileen is certified as a pet therapy dog through the Patchogue Rotary Animal Assisted Therapy organization. During her visits to the classroom, dog handler Jo-Ann Goldwasser, who is also a retired teacher, will accompany her.