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CANINE READING BUDDIES

Golden doodle Mojo and his Pet Partners volunteer-owner Susan Benyo sat quietly in the Wantagh Elementary School library as kindergarten students each read a page of their favorite book to their canine reading buddy. Some of the students received an approving nuzzle with a cold wet nose, while others were happy to read and talk to the patient pooch about their story.

Mojo and Benyo are volunteers with the Pet Partners Read With Me Program and teamed up with Wantagh’s Bideawee animal rescue to make students more comfortable with their reading.

“This program is another way to get children to form a love of reading,” Benyo said.

The Read With Me Program offers students the opportunity to read with a therapy animal, providing an incentive and motivational tool for the students to succeed at this important skill. Therapy animals are non-judgmental listeners, making students comfortable with literacy skills, such as reading out loud.