Golden retriever teaches kids to read

By Kristen Hampton - bio l email

SHELBY, NC (WBTV) - Gil doesn't actually teach kids to read, because he can't talk. But that seems to be the trick in getting kids to read better.

The 3-year-old Golden Retriever is a trained therapy dog and part of the Tail-Waggin Tutor program.

He patiently listens and lays perfectly still while the 3rd graders at James Love Elementary read aloud to him every Monday.

Gil's owner and school psychologist Jo Bralley says by just sitting there, the dog has a tremendous impact on the kids reading skills.

"We've seen tremendous impact on their reading, I mean by leaps and bounds," Bralley says.

The science behind the therapy dog program suggests children are more relaxed while reading to someone who doesn't judge or chide them for a mispronounced word.

Gil has worked with several kids at the school. 3rd-grader Carlos made the A-B honor roll for the first time and teachers give Gil a lot of the credit. "When I think of Monday's, I think of Gil," said Carlos.

Gil is credited with several success stories at James Love. But by watching him sit patiently, it's easy to see his favorite part might be the kisses and hugs that accompany every reading session.

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