This “Paws-itive” program is helping kids improve their literacy skills

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Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum (DGCM) is Utah’s premier children’s museum offering tons of interactive opportunities for families to learn together all while having fun. As spring is opening up lots of opportunities for families to get out and about in the community, Gateway wanted to highlight a new program coming to the museum this month which is “paws-itively” helping children improve literacy skills by reading with well trained, registered, and insured therapy animals.

Executive Director of the museum, Kathleen Bodenlos, and Co-Executive Director at Intermountain Therapy Animals, Karen Burns, joined Good Things Utah to talk about, Reading Education Assistance Dogs (R.E.A.D.), a worldwide organization focused on improving the literacy skills of children through the assistance of registered therapy teams.

R.E.A.D. is built on the foundation of classical human-animal interaction research and is supported by documentation in ongoing field studies. The Reading Education Assistance Dogs (R.E.A.D.) program improves children’s reading and communication skills by employing a powerful method: reading to an animal. But not just any animal. R.E.A.D. companions are registered therapy animals who volunteer with their owner/handlers as a team, going to schools, libraries, and many other settings as reading companions for children.

R.E.A.D is just one of the events that families can take part in at the museum this summer. Here are some other things coming up at the museum that families should have on their spring/summer calendars:

  • Ramping up our museum events as COVID restraints are loosening (make sure to pay close attention)
  • Health Fair
  • Concerts From the Couch
  • Live Animals
  • Juneteenth Programming

They also have tons of interactive exhibit galleries that focus on creativity, collaboration, discovery, problem-solving, design, and experiential education through art, science, and literacy. Discovery Gateway’s daily Early Childhood, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math), and World Connections programming offers fun and educational classes that range from literacy and cultural-based activities, to scientific exploration, to visual and performing arts.

Make sure your family takes advantage of these opportunities at the Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum.

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