It all started with this book.
This is a precious book about a little dog that doesn't know how to read. He's fine with that, but a little bird that he meets isn't about to let him get through life without learning this important skill. The bird takes the dog through all the steps, and by the end of the book, Rocket is a happy reader.
So, in first grade, we discussed what not being able to read was like. Then we got to work on the puppies that came to school for the week. Our task during this week was to teach the stuffed puppies how to read. Here they are learning the alphabet.
We discussed what a person (or a dog) needs to know to be able to read. We made a list here:
After teaching the puppies all those individual things, we spent two days reading books with the dogs. A lot of these books were dog-themed, but all of them were well within our first grade reading level to ensure success.
It was so cute watching the kids teaching their dogs! They spoke to them as if they could speak back, and many of them actually had the dogs follow along in the books with their paws. I could really tell how empowered the students felt, being able to be the teachers instead of being taught. Here's a little collection of pictures. They pretty much speak for themselves!
Next, we wrote about what learning to read was like from a human standpoint.
On the last day of the reading celebration, Ladel the Comfort Dog came to visit our classroom. The kids brought in their favorite books to read to her. In true Ladel form, she showed almost no interest, but certainly appreciated the petting.
As a treat for both the students and Ladel, we went outside to blow bubbles after the reading portion. Ladel got very excited for this!
She loves to jump in the air to catch the bubbles!
I have never seen this dog move so quickly!
This was a very busy day, because after Ladel's visit, we went to watch some dancing from West Africa. I wasn't sure how the kids would react with the loud drumming and the unfamiliar dance moves, but they LOVED it!
And finally, our trip to the zoo. I'll have some more pictures in the next post.
Hope you had a great holiday weekend!