We have developed a special training program for certified Bright Spot Therapy Dog teams interested in volunteering in our Reading Buddy Program in the elementary schools.
Our Bright Spot Reading Buddy Program that launched last spring 2012 with an after school program at the Westhampton Elementary School (WES), has taken off like wildfire. This special reading program is now held during the school day at two area elementary schools, with more schools asking to participate. At WES, the program is held in the school library under the auspices of the school’s librarian. Children in all classes, pre-k through grade 5 participate. At the Hilltown Charter School in Haydenville, Massachusetts, the Reading Buddy Program takes place directly in the classrooms under the direction of the classroom teachers. Children in kindergarten through third grade are involved.
More Reading Buddy Teams are needed to meet the growing requests for this program. Interested teams must undergo our special training to ascertain whether or not the dog – handler, too – work well in a one-on-one setting with school-age children. All candidates, therefore, go through our 3-4 session training, which includes observations of Bright Spot Reading Buddy Teams on the job, meeting and greeting children, and modeling 2-3 reading sessions as observed. All training takes place in the actual school setting. Training is tailored to the individual team.
We are pleased that John and Lilly are the first team to be certified through our new training program and are ready to launch a Reading Buddy Program in the Sunderland Elementary School. The program will start now as an after school program and run through the remainder of the school year. I can’t wait to observe John and Lilly running their own program. I plan to make a trip out to Sunderland very soon.
Our next Bright Spot Team, Leslie and Haas, are the next in line to receive their Reading Buddy training. We are extremely pleased with the success of this special reading program that Bright Spot Therapy Dogs is offering to area schools. The children, staff, and parents are delighted with it. As with all services provided by Bright Spot Therapy Dogs, Inc, there is no charge to the schools for this service. To learn how to become involved with the Reading Buddy Program, visit the Bright Spot Therapy Dogs website.