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Thursday, October 20 2011, 12:35 AM CDT

MADISON (WMSN) -- For the past several years, some cute canines have been present in classrooms across the country. But this isn't show 'n tell.


These animals have a much more serious job: They're helping struggling readers in the classroom.


"Confidence means bravery, you don't get so nervous," said Cole, a student at the Atlanta Speech School.


Cole and his fellow 3rd graders are working on confidence when reading to others - with the help of a dog named Ernie.


"Whenever I read to him, I think of him as a normal person," said Cole.


The students attend the Atlanta Speech School. They are part of the read program, designed for children who are struggling readers. Read stands for for reading education assistance dogs. For 5 years, Ernie and his owner have helped dyslexic kids conquer their reading disability.


"Any child doesn't want to let down his or her parents or some other audience, they can become very nervous," said Comer Yates, Executive Director of Atlanta Speech School.



The director of the school says kids this age are at a pivotol point.


"Third graders are going from learning to read. Learning the mechanics of reading to now reading to learn. They're reading more complex text and reading stories to be able to understand and share those stories," said Yates.

For more information on how to be connected to a program here in Wisconsin Click Here.
Special canine program helps children read

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