Zoom Reading to Dogs:
A Fair Shake responds to the pandemic
Schools were shuttered and learning loss was a major concern, especially regarding literacy in the early grades. Children who fall behind early on, often have a difficult time catching up and the negative impact can be lifelong.
Recognizing a need and opportunity, A Fair Shake partnered with the The Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan literacy and math tutoring program that was moving online. Based on proven in-person programs, A Fair Shake created Zoom Reading Aloud to Dogs. Since July 2020, over 130 2nd and 3rd graders have read with over 50 teams.
As the kids read, the volunteer and child assess the dog's interest in the story, conjecture about how the dog might respond in a similar situation, check in with the dog to ask for points of view and simply connect. Reading, normally a struggle, becomes fun and motivating. In a period marked by isolation and loneliness, the sessions offered a supportive, consistent relationship with a caring adult.
Dog Books for Dogs
What else would you read to a dog? A Fair Shake provided dog-themed books to get kids started, creating instant connection and assuring the kids have a book to read. As the students progress we offer books across topics -- about sharks, dragons, cats or biographies. In addition to learning to read, they learn to love reading and learning!
WHAT PEOPLE SAY
Director, JCC Literacy and Math Program