4 Star Chicagoan helping improve child literacy skills

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One local organization is on a mission to help improve children's literacy by bringing dogs into Chicago classrooms. (WLS)

One local organization is on a mission to help improve children's literacy by bringing dogs into Chicago classrooms. This week's 4-Star-Chicagoan, program director of SitStayRead, Kate McIlvain stopped by to tell us more.

SitStayRead's mission is to improve literacy skills and foster a love of learning in children in low-income neighborhoods. Founded in 2003, SitStayRead brings teams of trained volunteers and Certified Reading Assistance Dogs into 16 Chicago Public Schools in some of Chicago's poorest neighborhoods. SitStayRead is the leading literacy organization in the United States to use dogs as a tool to improve reading in grades one through four. Dogs enable SitStayRead to tackle the serious issue of childhood illiteracy in a fun way, and test scores prove that our programs improve reading fluency.

SitStayRead, with the help of volunteers, works hard to serve low-income families and students with the proper resources to increase our students' literacy skills while we're in the classroom. From Rogers Park to Bronzeville, from Old Town to Austin, we're all over the map and in classrooms five days a week throughout the school year.

Reading to a dog increases confidence and generates excitement about reading. These trained dogs, assisted by dog-themed books and writing assignments, change a child's reading session from an abstract concept into a real life experience. Children get to read about a dog, see a dog, and touch a dog - an experience that leads to true and lasting learning.

To find out more on SitStayRead or to make a donation, visit their website.
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