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Reading to dogs at Towamensing Elementary

  • LINDA KOEHLER/TIMES NEWS Cole Serfass, 5, a kindergarten student at Towamensing Elementary, reads to Smudge, a Golden Retriever Reading Dog as Stacey Olewine, reading specialist at Towamensing, listens on.
    LINDA KOEHLER/TIMES NEWS Cole Serfass, 5, a kindergarten student at Towamensing Elementary, reads to Smudge, a Golden Retriever Reading Dog as Stacey Olewine, reading specialist at Towamensing, listens on.
Published March 09. 2011 05:00PM

It's Read Across America week in our public schools.

Towamensing Elementary has a weeklong list of activities they are doing with their students, from all the students and staff reading simultaneously for 15 minutes, having guest readers reading to classes, a door decorating contest, Dress Up or Down Day wearing New York finest, fun activities, a guest author assembly and writing workshops.

Another activity was reading to dogs on Tuesday.

Stacey Olewine, the school's reading specialist, says that a lottery was held where 16 lucky students were picked to read to two therapy dogs owned by Katie Dyer of Lower Macungie.

The dogs were Smudge and Nigel, twin 9 1/2 year-old Golden Retrievers.

Dyer, a retired music teacher from the Northampton School District, says that she became involved with the therapy dog program seven years ago.

"I did it just for fun and the dogs love it. The Reading to Dogs program is great for kids. They can read to the dogs who are non-judgmental. It builds up a child's self-esteem and gives them confidence because the dogs won't correct them or make fun of them if they make mistakes. I think reading is very important. I love to read and want to encourage children to read," says Dyer.

Dyer was bringing her well-behaved dogs back again on Wednesday and Thursday to talk to the students about therapy dogs and what is involved in their training.

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