Therapy dogs encourage reading at Jason Lee Elementary

Richland reading therapy with dogs...

Man's best friend often teach us lessons. Two dogs in Richland are helping students learn to read.

Therapy dogs Scout and Jack visit the Richland Library during the week and Jason Lee Elementary every Friday. The duo have been patiently listening to children read for the last seven years.

"Dogs don't judge dogs just lay there and listen," said Scout's owner Debbie Crass. "So if the kid doesn't know a word or miss pronounces the word there's no type of judgment."

Crass taught English at Richland High School for 36 years.

"Anything that's getting kids reading is just great with me," said Crass.

Students read aloud to the dogs, creating a moment of peace during a busy school day.

"It takes away my stress from the day and it actually really helps me with other things after school like my ballet," said fourth grader Amelia Walton.

Students who get their homework done and are good in class get picked to spend 30 minutes reading to Scout and Jack.

"There's been a lot of research done that shows that reading to a dog helps kids improve their reading skills more than if the kid read to an adult," said Crass.

"If you like dogs but don't like reading then if you can put reading with the dogs waiting on some reading all of the sudden becomes fun," said Crass.

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