ARF! (Animals + Reading = Fun!)
ARF! is an innovative literacy program that gives students in grades K-6 an opportunity to improve their reading skills and inspire them to become life-long readers by reading aloud to specially trained therapy dogs.
A Simple Idea With Profound Results
A child, especially one who is having trouble reading, may be reluctant to read aloud in front of a teacher or peers. However, when a child sits down to read to a dog friend, something magical happens. The dog’s tail begins to wag and the child smiles and relaxes. The child starts to look forward to the reading sessions because his or her dog friend listens calmly to every word without criticizing or judging. And, before long, the child’s parents and teachers begin to notice something different… the child, once shy and reserved in the classroom, begins to raise his or her hand to read aloud or, for the first time, to check out a book from the library to read at home.
ARF! Focuses on Elementary School Aged Children
Children in grades K-3 are “learning to read” and by fourth grade, they are “reading to learn.” It’s vitally important that children become proficient readers in the early grades in order for them be successful in all school subjects, which helps them in all facets of their lives. As the famed Dr. Seuss once said, “The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
In-School and After-School Programs
ARF! currently runs in-school and after-school programs for first, second, and third grade children at several Title 1 (low-income) elementary schools in Santa Barbara, Goleta, and Ojai.
ARF! runs a highly-popular reading program during the school year for children in grades K-6 at the following library:
Santa Barbara Public Library
40 E. Anapamu Street, downtown Santa Barbara
Tuesday afternoons, 3:30-5:00 pm
ARF! therapy dog teams participate in one-time reading sessions throughout the year at several children’s organizations such as the Boys & Girls Club, CALM, Girls Inc., The Family Learning Center and Transition House.
ARF! also hosts Dog Therapy Day every semester at Santa Barbara City College to give students a chance to de-stress during finals week.
All ARF! programs are provided at no cost to our partner schools and libraries as well as to children’s organizations. Please consider making a DONATION so we may continue to inspire children to become better readers and develop empathy for animals!
ARF! is a program of All For Animals, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that is dedicated to creating a compassionate world for animals and children through humane education and literacy programs that nurture the human-animal bond.