Kizzy is a therapy dog, and this non fiction picture book begins with a television camera crew arriving at his owner/trainer/handler’s(Judy Audevard) house to follow Kizzy on a day’s work as a R.E.A.D. (Reading Education Assistance Dog). Kizzy enters classrooms, the home of an elderly stroke victim, a speech-therapy clinic, and a facility for troubled teens, spreading encouragement and hope, and helping all of the individuals he meets practice reading and speaking. Kizzy and other reading education assistance dogs allow their pupils to read to them without the fear of being judged, or being ridiculed. A brief explanation of the R.E.A.D. program follows the story.
For author Chris Williams encouraging childhood literacy is a passion. His inspiration for writing One Incredible Dog! Kizzy is rooted in his strong belief that learning to read is empowering for both young and old. He loves the R.E.A.D. (Reading Education Assistance Dogs)program because it seeks to help those that might “fall through the cracks” without this extra little help. Chris is the author of the acclaimed children’s book One Incredible Dog! Lady and One Incredible Dog! Boone in addition to numerous published short stories and several children’s eBooks:
Kizzy was adopted by Judy and Bob Audevard through the Greater New York Bichon Frise Rescue Group. Soon after adopting him, they realized he had a special talent. Judy’s mom had had a stroke two years prior, and although she had extensive therapy, she was unable to move her right arm and her speech was hardly audible. Judy placed Kizzy on her mom’s lap to take a picture of the new pup. Her mother held him with her left hand and started stroking him with her right just as the picture was being taken. Judy asked her mom if she realized what she was doing and she said ever so clearly, “Of course, I do, I’m petting Kizzy!” A few days later, Judy saw Kizzy sitting with her mom while her mother tried to read a magazine article to the dog. And Kizzy appeared to be listening to her! That was the beginning of their story together.
Judy enrolled him in the Therapy Dogs International (TDI) program. Kizzy enjoyed class and soon received his TDI certification, including the prestigious award for being an Active Outstanding Volunteer (AOV). He has a Canine Good Citizenship (CGC) award through the American Kennel Club. CGC is a certification program that is designed to reward dogs who have good manners at home and in the community. Kizzy went on to be a registered Reading Education Assistance Dog (R.E.A.D.) with Intermountain Therapy Animals and Judy Audevard became a licensed R.E.A.D.® instructor in Nyack, New York.
The R.E.A.D.(Reading Education Assistance Dogs) program improves literacy and communication skills of children and adults in a friendly and non judgemental environment through the assistance of registered Pet Partner® teams as literacy mentors.
According to the National Assessment of Education Progress, children who don’t read for fun have much lower scores than children who do .
Reading to dogs provides a fun, non-judgmental environment where children or adults can improve their reading skills.
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