When Maggie enters Solana Santa Fe Elementary School (SSF), students know that it’s time to pick out their favorite book. The black Lab and her dog friends Max and Buddy regularly spend time at local elementary schools as part of Maggie’s Club, a reading with dogs program. It was started seven years ago in Arizona by Liz and John Young with their dog Maggie.
“The goal is to make reading fun,” said Liz Young. “If kids enjoy reading now, they’ll do it forever.” The Youngs brought Maggie’s Club to California four years ago and added another black lab, Max, to the program. Susan Eldred and her beagle Buddy joined Maggie’s Club last year.
Every other week at least 40 students at SSF in grades K-6 have the opportunity to read and spend time with the three dogs. Lydia Noble, SSF’s guidance assistant, said the school has found there are many benefits to having students read with dogs, including socialization and increased confidence.
“The dogs also have a real calming effect on the children,” said Noble. They are specially chosen therapy dogs that the Youngs test to ensure they are good with children. More information about Maggie’s Club is available by contacting Liz and John Young at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos courtesy of Stacey Phillips