New to the NMS Library: PAWS TO READ Program

At some point in our lives, most of us have probably experienced anxiety about reading aloud to a group. It can be especially nerve-wracking for young friends who are still working on expanding their vocabulary and speaking out to their peers. In that moment, what we need is a patient listener and a treasured friend to help us practice. Who could be better for the job than a dog?

The Newton Montessori School Library has recently implemented an optional “Paws to Read” program for elementary students. This program allows students to practice their oral reading skills with a trained therapy dog. Destiny is a 10-year-old Yellow Labrador Retriever, and she has been working with her owner, Peg, for several years in a public library before joining us at NMS. Peg says, “It’s lovely to be working here with the NMS children. Destiny and I are truly enjoying ourselves, and the students are delightful.”

Children have the opportunity to take turns reading to Destiny for approximately 15 minutes during classroom work time once a week. Students may choose their own material to read, or they may select a book from the Library. The program offers a supportive environment to encourage and motivate reluctant readers and improve oral reading fluency and accuracy in a private setting. Students also benefit from learning more about dogs and pet ownership.

Here is what students are saying about their time with Destiny:

“Destiny is super nice, calm, and loving.” —Gibran

“I like reading to Destiny.” —Luke

“Destiny always listens with her ears when I read.” —Ryan

“Sometimes when I read to my classmates, I get confused and lose focus—but Destiny listens really well to me, so that doesn’t happen.” —Zoe

Destiny has become a very popular addition to the school, and the students look forward to her arrival every Tuesday. This week, a Beginners class had the opportunity to meet Destiny when they came up to the Library for a visit. The Beginners all had a wonderful time learning more about the Library Dog!

Below: A Beginner student and Peg feed Destiny a treat!

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Wellan Montessori School

80 Crescent Avenue

Newton Centre, MA 02459

Phone: (617) 969-4488   

Fax: (617) 969-4430

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Wellan Montessori School is a non-profit school which admits students of every race, color, religion, sex, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, or political beliefs to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to the students of the School. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or political views.