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Swift School Students Read Tales to Tails

Students practiced reading to dogs this month.

Local students at the Swift School who once were too shy to read aloud because of the challenges they face with dyslexia are gaining confidence in their reading abilities thanks to programs like K-9 Kids Reading Program.

Fourth grade students at are participating in the K-9 Kids Reading Program organized by Canine Assistants, a local metro Atlanta charity. On Friday, Dec. 2, students spent the morning reading books to a visiting service dog, which is being trained to aid adults and children with physical disabilities or other special needs.

“It was a little weird at first but it’s fun! We’re doing this to help our class become better at reading,” said Peyton, a Swift School fourth grader. “It’s good for her [the dog] to get to know people.”

Natalie Felix, an associate teacher at Swift School, got involved in Canine Assistants several years ago. This past summer, Felix’s son was in the hospital at Scottish Rite. During that time, her son and other patients were visited by dogs from Canine Assistants.

“The kids loved the visits and it made the hospital stay much nicer - even for my 17 year old son,” said Felix. “That experience re-interested me in the program and I decided to see how Swift could get involved.”

Swift School is currently participating once a month in the K-9 Kids Reading program with the hope of increasing the frequency and expanding student involvement in 2012. This reading environment is a win-win situation for both child and canine. Students improve their reading fluency and self-confidence while the dog enjoys the company of a child. This program is exceptionally special to Swift School because children are often nervous to read aloud. The presence of a dog eases fears and gives the readers a genuine opportunity to orally read.

“I read 'How to Eat Fried Worms' to her because it’s funny,” said Isabelle, another Swift fourth grader. “She is sweet, listens to me and doesn’t bark while I read.”

“Reading with purpose truly engages students,” said Felix. “When they read to a dog, they are not intimidated at all!  It is a relaxing experience for the student and the dog. I tell the students that we are performing a significant service by helping train and prepare the dog for future placement with a person with disabilities. This is very empowering!!”

For further information about Swift School call 678-205-4988 or visit Swift School online.

Davis Graham December 16, 2011 at 10:43 AM
If any one has dyslexia they are living in a technical dream come true world which can equip the 10-20% of those who have the Gift of Dyslexia with tools such as Balabolka, Readplease, Xmind (note taking tool), Read2Go and Bookshare.org which will change the landscape of their future outlook. It is my hope nobody has to go through what I went through in high school, grade and middle school, but the word needs to get out to the public. Today I read with not boarders or hurdles to the written word at speeds of 340 to 510 words per minute with 90+% comprehension. Bookshare has changed my life and Bookshare is free for all U.S. students with qualifying disabilities, thanks to an award from the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). Bookshare has 150,000 digital books and textbooks of which are awaiting access to those who struggle with the printed word. As a point of insight we (dyslectics) are way ahead of the dawn of the "digital textbook" era, and we have a great chance of being the navigators of how it can change the life of a student and family, if not a nation. The journey I have experienced can be read at: www.manateediagnostic.com/davisgraham.aspx Please visit my blog to view the websites of the tools of engagement mention above. http://www.mygiftofdyslexia.blogspot.com/ In Christ service, Davis Graham
Sherry Tome Newcomb December 18, 2011 at 04:08 PM
Peyton: I am so proud of you! SheShe

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