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.
A therapy animal 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 engaging 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.
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 have the opportunity to opt in to Read With Me.
Read With Me teams are eligible for special continuing education opportunities, including webinars hosted by leading figures in educational research (such as 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.
As a companion to our 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. The manual provides volunteers with activities to practice at home, tools for choosing the right volunteer opportunity for their animals, 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!
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 of 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.