Oh! I am so proud. You may want to exit now if you do not prefer gratuitous mommy-bragging. This is one for the portfolio!
Coop's picture was on the front of our newspaper today. He's been reading to the READ dog for a few months now and he's very proud of his accomplishments. I've mentioned it before here. I've been asked before and I've thought it myself, "What's so special about reading to a dog? and how does it help?" I can tell you that for our kid, who can be a bit shy, it has helped because there is just no pressure from a dog. Actually, our dog in particular, Lucy, falls asleep at every visit. We've tried to read to our dog, Sammy, but there is way too much licking (on his part) involved and it's just not as comfy since he's an outside dog.
As a still fairly new homeschooler, when Coop first sat down with Lucy I was a bit nervous. No, I shouldn't have been, I should have just let Coop be, be his own person. But I was nervous for him. "I hope the lady knows he's only 6! I hope she realizes he just started reading! I hope we chose a book that won't be too hard or embarrassing for him!" Yes, the first time was rather agonizing. Coop is not one to open up to people he doesn't know... let alone try to dabble in a new skill he was just learning... right in front of a stranger. His first 15 minute session was sloooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooow. Did I put enough o's? o infinity. He connected with Lucy though and decided he wanted to keep participating. He was excited and talked about Lucy right up until their next visit.
There's something else about reading to a dog and not a hyped-up mother who corrects every other syllable... it's calming. I was concerned when he began reading to Lucy back in September, that every Tourettes tic he had displayed thus far would come bursting out. Nope. He just... read.
This all is why Saturday when Patti, Lucy's owner, asked if Cooper would like to participate in the photo I was so excited. "I thought he would be great because he's my star student" she said. Coop took all this in with his usual, 'whatever' attitude, but I was busting at the seams. I wanted to tell everyone. When we met up on Monday to take the picture, it was all I could do to keep from bawling right there in the library. There was Cooper, reading clearly, fluidly and perfectly. No tics. And a small crowd had begun to gather of school kids and parents to see what all the commotion and camera flashes were all about. My shy guy kept his cool and kept right on going. I was beyond proud. I was proud of Cooper and honestly, I'll say it... proud of myself. I taught someone to read. And if you can read, you can learn anything. This was a moment my heart took a picture of.
For more information on the READ therapy dog program:
Here is Lucy herself.
For the article itself:
Paulding Library Offers Reading Program to Wag About