Will Rogers Elementary School using shelter dogs to help students improve reading

paws and pages kfda

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - An Amarillo elementary school is improving their students’ reading through the help of shelter dogs.

“I like reading out loud to dogs because they kind of don’t know what we’re saying,” said Peishanz Villarreal, a fifth grader at Will Rogers Elementary School.

Paws and Pages is a new program at Will Rogers Elementary school that focuses on improving students’ reading through dogs up for adoption at Amarillo Animal Management and Welfare.

“It’s great for the kids because if they’re a little anxious about reading in front of humans, then they can absolutely read in front the dogs where there is no judgment, there’s no corrections. They just get to read, and they get to read for the fun of it. So it’s great for the kids, for the dogs again it’s a great chance for enrichment for them. To get out of that shelter setting, to meet new people, to get some treats and it’s fun for them,” said Christy Fischer, assistant director of Amarillo Animal Management and Welfare.

Students get to pet and play with the dogs while reading books with easy to say words to focus on reading out loud and comprehending at the same time.

“My favorite thing about reading to the dog is seeing them happy and very jumpy and they don’t have to be in the kennel forever,” said Villarreal.

“It’s just like you’re sitting next to a bear, a big teddy bear,” said Yezenyah Avila, a fifth grader at Will Rogers Elementary School.

Fourth and fifth graders participating in the reading have given up their lunch break not only to read to the dogs, but to also do research on them for future families who would like to adopt.

“We’re researching the seven most popular animals that the shelter adopts out. Then our students are putting together an one page flyer on what the new family can expect. How much food they’ll eat, how much walking they need, are they social animals, are they good with children, those kind of generic pieces that are so critical for any knew animal lover,” said Terri Huseman, principal at Will Rogers Elementary School.

Along with improved reading, the goal of Paws and Pages is also to help find these dogs forever homes.

Copyright 2020 KFDA. All rights reserved.