Kindergartener reads to Rosie For kindergarten students at the Rockland BOCES Hilltop School, learning to read can be challenging. Developing this skill needs encouragement. That is where Rosie comes in.

Rosie, a therapy dog, is specially trained to work with emerging readers through the Reading Education Assistance Dogs® (R.E.A.D.) program. Weekly with her owner, Annmarie, she visits the Hilltop School to provide a loving, non-judgmental space for the young students to practice their reading skills. Older students get one-on-one time as well to help them build confidence in reading aloud and public speaking.

Student reads to RosieRosie has a calming effect on our students,” says Dr. Christine Ditrano, principal of the Hilltop School. “She’s relaxed, so our students are relaxed, and that is the key to developing their enthusiasm for reading.”

The READ program has gained a nationwide reputation as an outstanding method for helping children of all ages to improve their reading skills and comprehension.  This is the second year that the Hilltop School has offered the program through a collaboration with Therapy Dogs of Rockland.