Reading matters to your students. It matters to their future academic success, and in turn, their career options as adults. Reading also matters to you as an educator, to your school district, and to the health of your community.

It also matters to us.

In the field of therapy animal work, Pet Partners is uniquely committed to education and preparedness. Our therapy animal teams are passionate about supporting literacy, and a therapy animal team provides an engaging, non-judgmental, creative opportunity for all students to get excited about building their skills.

We will support them, and you, by providing the best teams—through Pet Partners Read with Me™.

Why therapy animals?

A therapy animal visit is an incentive, a motivational tool, and a non-judgmental listener… all in one. Breathe new life into your lesson plans, your classroom activities, or your library’s reading program with the exciting presence of a highly qualified volunteer and their animal. Whether you have just a few students needing extra help, or a whole classroom of students eager to practice their skills, a therapy animal team can provide just the ticket to get them in a positive mindset and ready to learn. And through Read with Me™, you can be assured that your students are working with the most highly credentialed volunteers in the field. Learn more about the Pet Partners difference by clicking here.

What is Read with Me?

Read with Me™ is a special initiative of the Pet Partners Therapy Animal Program. After our volunteer therapy animal teams complete their required coursework, health screening, and behavioral assessment, they are eligible to opt-in to the Read with Me program. Read with Me™ teams are eligible for special continuing education opportunities, including webinars hosted by leading figures in educational research (including Dr. Deborah Linder of Tufts University, and Dr. Nancy Gee of State University of New York). Teams also receive the Read with Me™ manual, a rich curriculum designed in alignment with the pioneering guide in the field: the Pet Partners Handler Guide.

Learn from our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. David E. Williams, how programs like Read with Me™ can bridge the achievement gap.

What is covered in the Read with Me™ manual?

As a companion to the Handler Guide, the Read with Me™ manual builds on Pet Partners’ core values, policies, and procedures. Handlers learn how to apply their proactive handling and constructive communication skills in a setting with children. It provides volunteers with activities to practice at home, tools for choosing the right volunteer opportunity for their animal, and strategies to keep students of all ages safe and engaged in the therapy animal visit. Chapters include Checking for a Good Fit, Best Practices for Read with Me™ Visits, and Promoting Safety and Limiting Risk. Your school administrators or fellow teaching faculty can be confident that teams will be a positive addition to your school’s community, as well as an enormous benefit to your students!

How do I recruit a Read with Me™ therapy animal team?

Through the Pet Partners website, you can post a volunteer opportunity. By entering basic information about your specific volunteer opportunity you create a listing that becomes searchable to all our registered therapy animal teams across the country. Interested volunteers in your area will be able to contact you directly.

You can also check the Community Partner Directory to see if there are any active groups of volunteers in your area and contact them to express interest in starting therapy animal visits.