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Dogs are helping Hanover students learn to read

HANOVER COUNTY, Va. -- Some children struggle with reading out loud or to other students. But there seems to be one kind of listener who offers a calm and accepting presence for the kids to practice reading aloud: dogs.

Caring Canines is an all-volunteer therapy group founded in 1999.

Reading Specialist Kelly Fletcher invited them to Cool Spring Elementary School to help some of her students.

"Third grade came to mind, where we have these students who are transitioning from those primary grades," Ms. Fletcher said. "And now their reading stamina has increased and they can come in and read for a longer period of time."

Megan Strickland is the owner of Riley, a nine-year old Golden Retriever.

Riley loves visiting the kids.

She enjoys the petting and attention, but is quick to calm down and patiently listen once the children begin to read.

"It's nice to see students who are struggling with reading and they're anxiety level is lowered," Ms. Strickland said. "I've noticed the students progress."