DEAR Program

Dogs Educating & Assisting Readers aka DEAR Program improves reading skills by encouraging children to read one-on-one with a Fidos Therapy Dog and Trained Volunteer.

There are physiological benefits to interacting with dogs that encourage a more relaxed learning environment, including increased relaxation and lower blood pressure. Children find that reading to a dog is less intimidating. Participation in the Fidos DEAR Program is a special time for children that is helpful, fun and transforms the formerly dreaded reading experience into a positive environment in which learning is facilitated. Children find that reading to a dog less intimidating.

Children tend to focus better on an activity or discussion when a dog is present. An additional advantage is that the child is very inclined to forget his/her reading limitations while working with the dog. Reading to the dog is far less intimidating than standing up and reading to their classmates and teachers. Children are often more willing to interact with an animal than another person.

DEAR Benefits

  • Children improve their reading skills in a unique and fun environment
  • Children forget their limitations and develop a “can do” attitude
  • Children increase their oral skills and self-confidence
  • Provides individualized mentoring for each child
  • Provides a personalized, less threatening environment for reading
  • Complements the existing literacy program
  • Flexible, cost-efficient program that is easy to implement in many settings
  • Therapy Dogs effortlessly cross all socioeconomic and cultural lines
  • Another way in which animals can make a positive difference
  • Animals are without bias and judgement and increase a child’s comfort level
  • Professional acceptance of program by educators, librarians and counselors

In order to become a DEAR team, you must first become a Therapy Dog team. To do that, your first step is to sign up for the next Therapy Dog Testing Day. For more information, contact the Therapy Dog Coordinator at therapydogcoordinator@fidosforfreedom.org.