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Therapy dog helps kindergartners celebrate Georgia Reads Aloud Day

POSTED: March 19, 2013 11:56 p.m.
Sharon Dunten/The Times

Zach Smith, 6, reads "Dive In The Ocean" to Dooley the Goldendoodle at Chestnut Mountain Creative School of Inquiry as part of Georgia Reads Aloud Day.

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Five kindergartners and a Goldendoodle named Dooley celebrated Georgia Reads Aloud Day on Tuesday.

Dooley, along with his owner, Charlene Young of Gainesville, quietly sat on the mat in the media center at Chestnut Mountain Creative School of Inquiry with the children circling him. Dooley is a trained therapy dog, Young said.

Sometimes, while the children were reading out loud, the dog would snuggle his nose into the book as the student read.

“It was kinda weird reading out loud to a dog. I have never read to a dog before,” said Zach Smith, 6.

His book selection was “Dive In The Ocean.” Smith said Dooley was very good and listened a lot.

Brantley Webb, 6, said he was reading a very funny book, “The Duckling Gets A Cookie,” to Dooley because he loves cookies, while Abby Childers, 5, read one of her favorite Dr. Seuss books, “Ten Apples Up On Top.”

Principal Jackie Adams said former students of the elementary school, now juniors and seniors at Flowery Branch High School, came Monday during the morning announcements and told the students why they enjoyed reading.

Adams said students starting to read this young develop a love of reading and share it.

“Selecting books on their interests and on reading level helps (them) engage in reading,” she said.

Tyler Folkers, 6, said he loves reading “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” to his own dog at home. Eva Doyne, 6, sat with her legs folded on the mat and her favorite book, “At The Fair,” sitting on her lap.

The Rev. Jeff Benefield, pastor at Chestnut Mountain Church, will be reading to the students later this week on closed-circuit television.

Gov. Nathan Deal and first lady Sandra Deal are also celebrating by declaring March as the month parents, teachers and the community are encouraged to make a special effort to read to children of all ages.

Along with the Deals, the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning challenged students to enter a contest for the Most Books Read between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. Tuesday. The winning classroom will receive a visit from the first lady and DECAL Commissioner Bobby Cagle.

Read Across Georgia and Georgia Reads Aloud Day both support the governor’s goal to have all of Georgia’s children reading on grade level by third grade, an email from DECAL stated.

Last year, students across Georgia read close to 14,000 books in 13 hours.


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