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Project PUP aims to improve reading skills and confidence.

November 13, 2019 - Student Success

Why #WeAchieveTogether is a weekly blog from our Achievement Schools. It highlights the outstanding work of our staff and the high quality programs that help our students succeed.

Reddick Elementary has come up with a sweet way of helping kids deal with some ruff stuff!

“School counselors have noticed an increase of students who need ways to deal with stress, anxiety and overall mental health,” explained Shelley Herda, School Counselor at Reddick Elementary. “We thought this would be a great way to bring some extra smiles and therapy to our students.”

Those smiles now come courtesy of “Project PUP” (Pets Uplifting People), the new Social/Emotional & Reading intervention Ms. Herda started at Reddick Elementary. The project’s goal is to increase reading skills and attention span and to create confidence while reducing stress.

Project PUP Fun Fact: The five Social/Emotional therapy dogs all belong to Reddick staff members!

How does it work? Teachers request certified therapy puppies such as Duke and Cooper to visit their classrooms as a reward for positive behavior. Students can “earn bucks” for their good behavior and occasionally “buy time” with the dogs.

“This has been a great motivator for the students,” said Joseph Lamothe, a second grade teacher at Reddick Elementary. “They always work hard in class and try extra hard to be recognized for being kind to others.”

Cuddles and laughs are not the only benefit of the therapy dogs. “Reading With Daisy” allows Reddick students to enhance their literacy skills. This program allows students to read to Daisy, a calming audience member—one who won’t bark at any mistakes.

As part of the “Reading Education Assistance Dogs” (R.E.A.D.) program, Daisy sits quietly and listens while students read books such as Don’t Lick the Dog.

Research shows that companionship with a dog stimulates memory and problem solving

“We have definitely noticed an increase of students being excited, earning time with the dogs, requesting time with the dogs. I think it’s making a positive impact,” said Ms. Herda.

Building confidence and compassion—it’s all in a day’s work for man’s best friend.

This is Why #WeAchieveTogether


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