Reading Tails

Reading Tails is a four week program for children 6 to 12 years old who would like to practice their reading skills. Children who struggle to read aloud are matched with a child certified therapy dog and handler. This program is designed to not only improve reading ability, but also to increase a child's confidence, communication, and social skills! Kids read to the dog and are encouraged to pick books they think the dog would like to hear. Our volunteer dog, Willie, provides undivided attention to the kids as they read aloud.

Studies have shown that reading to dogs encourages confidence and boosts self-esteem in children who struggle to read aloud in class, therefore boosting their literacy. Animals provide a safe, non-judgmental presence for struggling readers. Sharing books with furry supporters helps children to:

  • Sustain concentration and focus
  • Maintain a higher level of awareness
  • Improve attitudes toward school
  • Increase reading comprehension and fluency
  • Expand their use of vocabulary and language 
  • Boost confidence and pride in their reading skills
  • Cultivate a higher motivation for reading and learning
  • Foster positive social interactions
  • Feel more comfortable about learning
  • Enjoy the experience of reading

Oh, and the dog enjoys it too!

Your child will be scheduled for 20 minute sessions for four consecutive weeks. They will be asked to read for 15 minutes to their canine buddy during this session every week (the extra time will be used to greet, visit, and say farewell to their reading buddy.)

Registration is now open. Space is limited, and preregistration is required. Once registration is full, you can request to be added to our wait list for upcoming sessions. Please contact Children's Programmer, Wanita Wickens, at to register, or for more information. 

All participating dog and handler teams are trained and certified through the Central Alberta Humane Society K9 Community Outreach Program. Teams are required to pass an additional safe handling around children evaluation. We're dedicated to ensuring that all program participants have a safe and enjoyable experience with Reading Tails. 

If you and your dog would like to volunteer with Reading Tails please contact Wanita for more information. (Please note: you MUST be a certified team with the Central Alberta Humane Society K9 Community Outreach Program to participate.)