Therapy Dogs Are Helping Kids Learn To Read

Over the past few years, therapy dogs have improved the lives of the handicapped. They’ve eased the pain of those suffering from PTSD and even helped baby cheetahs improve their social skills. In another attempt to aid those in need, dogs from Tail Waggin’ Tutors are helping children with anxiety learn to read.

The new “dog-friendly” atmosphere makes use of the same principles used with therapy dogs… It relaxes the child and allows them to focus on reading instead of waiting for… feedback. Patting or petting the attentive dog also helps put the child at ease.

If cute puppy videos are helping the entire population of Facebook get over Monday blues, these dogs must be doing wonders. Fortunately, the dogs cater to children anywhere in the world, as the program is international. And for the most part, it seems to be working.

“When [people] ask why the kids read to a dog, I say, because a dog is not going to correct them,” said Shilo Perlman, a library assistant in youth services. “We’ve heard from many parents who will say, ‘You know, my child will not read at home, won’t pick up a book. She’s afraid she’s going to make mistakes. But she will read to the dog.’”

Looks like man’s best friend may also be man’s top educator!

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends:

Donkeys Bring Books To Rural Zimbabwe

We all know rural communities hardly get their fair share of basic necessities. However, recent changes such as solar roofing and drone deliveries have been making life easier for them. For this humble town in rural Zimbabwe, donkey-pulled mobile libraries are making their way to schools and other establishments.

Dr. Obadiah Moyo, the founder of RLRDP (Rural Libraries and Resources Development Program), credits the organization with creating the world’s first donkey-powered mobile libraries . . . These small, roofed, two-wheeled units are divided into lockable compartments, with space for up to three rider-drivers.

Donkeys are abundant in rural Zimbabwe and are used to carrying heavy loads, making them perfect drivers of the project. (Hee-haw!) A few of the carts also sport solar panels for charging gadgets as well as providing Internet and a printer. The upkeep is difficult, but covered mostly by various benefactors.

Moyo estimates that it takes about $150,000 a year to cover the operating costs of RLRDP, and the charity has received financial support from the Latter-Day Saints and Save the Children. As for the books themselves, many of them are supplied by Book Aid International.

Since the arrival of the donkey-mobiles, educational passing rates have risen. And hopefully, children and teachers alike remain inspired.

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends:

Dolly Parton Donates 100 Millionth Children’s Book

For the digital generation, printed novels are a thing of the past. While comics and classics alike are making their way into Kindles, Gen X’s are doing what they can to keep them old school. As an increasing number of libraries are scrapping fees, country superstar Dolly Parton is busy donating books. In fact, she just pledged her 100 millionth to children in need.

“I never thought about being ‘the book lady,’ ” [Parton] joked… “The painted lady, yes, the overexaggerated lady. That goes to show you can’t judge a book by its cover.”

Founder of the nonprofit Imagination Library, Parton sends families a book a month. The songbird is donating up to a million books a month, and hit a milestone at the Library of Congress. Parton, clearly a daddy’s girl, has dedicated the selfless act to her late father.

“Of all the things I’ve done in my life — and it’s been a lot because I’ve been around — this is the most precious,” she said. “Maybe we’ll be back for a billion.”

Looks like a brand-new record isn’t the only thing going platinum this year!

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends:

Library Books Are Free To Rent For L.A. Kids

In places like New York, educational institutions are becoming less restrictive towards low-income families. This is so much so that children are now enjoying free lunches to ease financial burdens and prevent bullying. But the fact remains — many continue to struggle with other expenses such as tuition fees and school materials. Realizing the sheer significance of free knowledge, L.A. County has waived library fees for readers under 21.

“When charges accrue on a young person’s account, generally, they don’t pay the charges and they don’t use the card,” [library administrator Darcy] Hastings said. “A few dollars on their accounts means they stop using library services.”

As past fines persist, the county is also offering a “Read Away” service for young bookworms. Simply by picking out a novel to digest for an afternoon, students can eliminate fees at $5 an hour.

“You tell them you’ll read and they’ll sign you in and you start,” said Leilany, a fifth-grader at Morris K. Hamasaki Elementary in East L.A. “When your head starts losing the book you can stop reading and they tell you how much money they took away.”

Reading for fun and paying off debts? Sounds like a win-win for literature lovers looking to knock off a couple of bucks!

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends:

Too Much Tech: How To Kick Smartphone Addiction

Being unable to part with your smartphone seems like it belongs on an episode of My Strange Addiction.

However, spending too much time playing Candy Crush is about as real as it gets. In fact, statistics (yes, those exist) show that 11% of people in Western countries suffer from some form of technology addiction.

On average, people spend about 5 hours on their phone a day, which seems reasonable, except it’s not. People sleep 8 to 10 hours a day, which means of the 14 or so hours we spend awake, we dedicate around 35% to our phones.

Kicking your smartphone addiction isn’t as harrowing as it sounds and can actually be gratifying.

What keeps us glued to our screens is an endless stream of notifications. Message? Tweet? FaceBook status? Instagram like? Every few seconds is a tap on the shoulder.

To make things easier, turn off your notifications. While not receiving an alert regarding how many people have reacted to your new profile picture may be stressful, trust me — you’ll live. In fact, it may eventually feel liberating.

If you’re the type of person who needs a constant reality check, keep track of how much time you spend on your phone a day. 

Various apps can monitor your usage and even tell you when you need a break. Use these apps to set goals for yourself. Do you want to reduce an hour of screen time? More? Be realistic but not too lenient.

If you’re a busybody, try out a manual to do list. Sure, iPhones make it a lot easier to figure out what you’re supposed to do and when, but jotting down tasks allows you to focus.

The most effective form of note-taking is handwritten, because muscle memory allows you to more successfully absorb information. With just a pad and pen, you won’t be subjecting yourself to any potential distractions.

After a long day at work or school, catching up on current events may seem like a rewarding and logical activity. While it can be, you can change things up by reading the newspaper. Who knows? Perhaps it may even inspire you to read a book — you know, where real stories are told.

On weekends, being able to spend the entire day alternating between social media and games may seem like a sensible bonus. Not if it’s making you inactive.

Try something new. Start out small. Check out a coffee shop you don’t normally frequent. Go to the library (while they’re still relevant). If you have one, walk your dog at a park on the other end of town. Do something refreshing and, if you must, document it on your phone (but not the whole time!).

Lastly, be more social. You may be outgoing, but spending 3 hours looking at photos of baby goats with your friends isn’t really bonding. Explore the great outdoors or simply go see a movie — yes, with your phone on silent mode.

Tacky as it may sound, life is too short to spend all of it on a 4.7-inch screen. Or 5.5, if you’ve got a Plus.

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends: