Sampson The Book Dog Popular For Educating Young ReadersBy Jane Reed, UniversityHerald Reporter
Sometimes, it takes a dog to make a difference. Samspons, the golden retriever likes to listen to kids who read to him. You can see him at the Smithfield Public Library in Utah.
Sampson helps kids with their reading. Now, how can a dog do that? With his tail wagging while settling on a soft blanket, he does what dogs do best.
For a year now, between 4:30 PM and 5:30 PM, on every first and third Thursday of the month, according to HJ, young readers can set an appointment to read to Sampson. Sampson is no ordinary golden retriever. He is a trained therapy dog.
He is certified under the Intermountain Therapy Animals' Reading Education Assistance Dogs or R.E.A.D. program. And he supports readers by letting them practice on him with their reading skills with the addition of a nonjudgmental, supporting partner. Barbara Abbott is his partner. She is a retired teacher who has been using her dogs to supplement her lessons for the past 39 years. She claims that dogs like Sampson are miracle workers especially with kids. They urge kids out of their shells and calms them when they are anxious.
Karen Bowling, director of the library, says that everyone gets excited about Sampson. She states that there is always someone who wants to read to Sampson. Abbott says, "It makes a big impact when kids have a dog to listen to them. There's no judgement, no correction. There's just love and acceptance."
Sampson also goes to the Newton Town Library every other Tuesday and makes visits to the Utah State University with Star, another one of Abbott's certified therapy dogs.
Star also has a job. She helps second graders at the Bear River Charter School with their reading skills.
Early education and development is important, so using dogs like Star and Sampson is a big help for kids' self confidence and reading skills.