Students at three Round Rock ISD elementary schools are getting help from man’s best friend through the Austin Dog Alliance, which trains canines to help students who may need extra encouragement to improve reading and communication.
Carolyn Honish, a Live Oak Elementary School deaf education teacher, said reading dog Buzz adds valuable interaction into the classroom for students and adults. “The dog shows affection and is responsive to the kids, so it’s a huge motivational tool,” she said. “Buzz gives them a reason to want to communicate and work on language, which is one of the big goals in the program.”
Reading dog Riley and his owner, Karen Parshall have been visiting Deep Wood, Great Oaks and Live Oak elementary schools at least once a week for three years, developing relationships with many of the students. Parshall said she has seen Riley improve student’s attitudes to the point that they check out special books for their reading dog appointments and actively work on improving their literacy.