See our Tedx Salt Lake City 2019 Talk on R.E.A.D.
The mission of the R.E.A.D. program is to improve the literacy skills of children through the assistance of registered therapy teams as literacy mentors.
The Reading Education Assistance Dogs (R.E.A.D.) program improves children’s reading and communication skills by employing a powerful method: reading to an animal. But not just any animal. R.E.A.D. companions are registered therapy animals who volunteer with their owner/handlers as a team, going to schools, libraries and many other settings as reading companions for children.
R.E.A.D. is the first and foremost program that utilizes therapy animals to help kids improve their reading and communication skills and also teaches them to love books and reading. It’s been growing around the world since November of 1999 when ITA launched it here in Salt Lake City. More than 6,000 therapy teams have trained and registered with the program and are going strong!
Today, thousands of registered R.E.A.D. teams work throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico and 24 other European, Asian, Central American, and South American countries. R.E.A.D. is one of those ideas that, in the words of Bill Moyers, “pierces the mundane to arrive at the marvelous.”
Steps to Become a R.E.A.D. Team:
1. Get registered with an animal-assisted therapy group.
This will give you insurance during a visit, and some of the training you will need, to become a R.E.A.D. team. Depending on where you live, you might be able to join one of ITA’s affiliates; you can see a list of those on our ITA Affiliates page. If you are in an area where we don’t have an affiliate group, you will need to explore other animal-assisted therapy groups in the U.S. The AKC provides a list of those groups HERE.
2.Order the R.E.A.D. training package.
You can purchase the training manual by calling our office at 801-272-3439 or through our ONLINE STORE. Because the material is protected by copyright, we require each R.E.A.D. team to have their own training package.
3. Read the manual, watch the video (available on DVD or USB thumb drive), and complete the registration packet.
The registration packet is in Appendix C of the manual and consists of an application, policies and procedures,
and a 40 question written test.
4. Send everything to Intermountain Therapy Animals.
Include the application, signed policies and procedures, 40 question written test, proof of registration with an animal-assisted therapy organization that provides your insurance (with the expiration date showing), and the lifetime fee of $60. The lifetime fee covers you and one animal for life; as long as you stay current with your animal-assisted therapy organization . You will also need to send us a copy of your new membership card, with the expiration date showing, every time you renew with them. You can add additional R.E.A.D. partners for $10 each.
Once we receive your paperwork, we review it and if everything is in order and you successfully pass the test, we will send you your membership card, R.E.A.D. dog tag, and letter saying you are registered with the R.E.A.D. program. It usually takes 1 to 2 weeks for you to receive this packet after we receive your paperwork. Once you are registered with R.E.A.D. you will have access to our online discussion group and electronic templates for the fun stuff you will see in the R.E.A.D. manual.
Costs Involved To Become A R.E.A.D. Team:
There are two, one-time fees involved in becoming registered with R.E.A.D.
- Training package fee of $79 plus shipping. This includes the R.E.A.D. Training Manual and training video.
- Lifetime membership fee of $60, which you will send with your registration packet after you’ve purchased the R.E.A.D. Training Manual. (If you are a member of an official R.E.A.D. Affiliate Group, the cost is reduced to $50. If you are unsure whether your group is an affiliate, check give us a call or check the list of our R.E.A.D. Affiliate Programs here: www.therapyanimals.org/read-affiliate-programs)