Children learn to read with help of therapy dogs

Seven-year-old Finnley loves cookies and toys, but there's one thing Finnley does better than being adorable -- he helps people.

All the dogs here like Finnley are being trained for the "Reading Education Assistance Dog" program, also knows as R.E.A.D.

"Sixty-eight percent of children, fourth graders in the United States are reading below the proficiency level," Kathleen Molony said.

By having school children read to therapy dogs, it builds confidence in a comfortable, safe environment.

"They get to come read to a dog... nobody's going to tease them or make fun of them," Karen Burns said.

R.E.A.D. has been around for awhile, but was just implemented in Avondale, thanks to Therapy Paws, the police department, and of course the volunteers.

"It's a lot of work," Debbie Ray said.

But they say the reward far outweighs the work, especially when they see children who were afraid to read, but now love it.