Paws for Reading


WMCTV Video- The Bodine School
Eyewitness News Video - The Bodine School


Reading Education Assistance Dogs

Faster than a speeding frisbee.
More powerful than a rubber chew toy.
Able to increase self confidence and
reading skills in a single tail wag.

The R.E.A.D. (Reading Education Assistance Dogs®) program was introduced in November of 1999.  The mission of the R.E.A.D. program is to improve the literacy skills of children through the assistance of registered therapy teams as literacy mentors.  The R.E.A.D. program utilizes registered therapy animals, to offer children a highly effective, interactive and motivational way of improving reading skills.
Note: You must be a current registered therapy team in order to participate in the R.E.A.D. program. Additional information below.



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Therapy Dogs make you smile!


Paws for READing
~ The Bodine School of Germantown ~


Mr. and Mrs. Bodine, founders of Bodine School in Germantown, recently visited Bodine. When they walked into
the library, they were pleasantly surprised to see the children sitting on the floor and reading to therapy dogs from
Mid South Therapy Dogs & Friends. The Bodine's were able to learn about the Paws For READing program
and hear the wonderful things the children said about their time with the dogs and their handlers. 

Pictured are Mr. and Mrs. Bodine, Brenda Berry, Advancement Coordinator, Susie Allen and her therapy dog, Lily.


Getting Involved in Literacy Mentorship

If you are interested in this type of setting, you will require some additional training to prepare you and your animal to be as knowledgeable and as comfortable as possible so that the time you invest reading with a child will be as effective as possible. 

The Reading Education Assistance Dogs (R.E.A.D.) Program improves children's reading and communication skill 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 too shcools, libraries and many other settings as reading companions for children.

R.E.A.D. is the first and foremost program that utilizees therapy animals to help kids improve their reading and communication skills and also teaches them to love books and reading. It's been growing around the world since November of 1999 when ITA launched it in Salt Lake City. More than 3,500 therapy teams have trained and registered with the program and are going strong!

R.E.A.D. is one of those ideas that in the words of Bill Moyers, "pierces the nundane to arrive at the marvelous."

Steps to Become a R.E.A.D. Team

1. Get registered with Mid South Therapy Dogs & Friends. MSTD is a R.E.A.D. Affiliate and has R.E.A.D. instructors.
This will give you insurance during a visit, and provide the training you will need to become a R.E.A.D. team.

2. Order the R.E.A.D. manual/complete training package.
You can purchase these either by calling ITA at 877.485.1121
Each R.E.A.D team is required to have their own manual.

3. Read the manual, watch the video, complete the registration packet, attend the R.E.A.D. Workshop and the required shadow visits
The registration packet is in section 8 of the namual and consists of an application, policies and procedures, and a 35 questions written test.

4. Send everything to Intermountain Therapy Animals.
Include the application, signed policies and procedures, 35 question written test, proof of insurance (with the expiration date showing), and the lifetime fee of $60. The lifetime fee covers you and one animal for life; as long as you stay current with your animals assisted therapy group. You will also need to send us a copy of your new membership card, with the expiration date showing, every time you renew with them. Each additional animal is $10.
Once we receive your paperwork, we review it and if everything is there we send you your membership card, R.E.A.D. dog tag, and letter saying you are registered with the R.E.A.D. program. It usually takes 1 to 2 weeks for you to receive this packet after we receive your paperwork. Once you are registered with R.E.A.D. you will have access to our online discussion group and electronic templates for the fun stuff you will see in the R.E.A.D. manual.

Costs Involved to Become a R.E.A.D. Team:

There are two, one-time fees involved in becoming registered with R.E.A.D.
Training manual fee of $50 including shipping
Lifetime membership fee of $60, which you will send with your registration packet after you have purchased the training manual. (If you are a member of an official R.E.A.D. Affiliate Group, the cost is reduced to $50. MSTD is an official R.E.A.D. Affiliate Group.

For a complete resource reference, including answers to frequently asked questions, you can visit the website of Intermountain Therapy Animals, at

If you want to join the Mid South Therapy Dogs and become involved in our literacy mentorship program with your animal, please send a note to our program coordinator at contact us