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Humane Society to begin offering Paws to Read program in Indiantown

Doreen Poreba
June 11, 2013
 The Humane Society of the Treasure Coast will begin offering its award-winning literacy program in Indiantown on June 15 from 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. at the Elisabeth Lahti Library, 15200 SW Adams Ave. Paws to Read uses animals to improve students’ reading skills and increases their self-confidence. Led by HSTC Humane Education Specialist Helen Savill and Library Children’s Assistant Lee Gorski, the first session will feature four dogs and eight children.
The program’s primary goal is to provide a creative tool for teachers and parents to develop children’s reading and language skills and self-esteem.
“We are looking forward to starting the program in Indiantown where we expect it to be instrumental in increasing reading levels and confidence with the children that read to the dogs,” said Savill. “Because we are using animals, the children will also be provided with the opportunity for humane education and to further develop respect for all living things.”  
Paws to Read began as a pilot program in 1999 at the Blake Library using four therapy teams who provided half-hour reading sessions for eight children for a four-week period. The program has since expanded to almost 2,000 half-hour reading sessions at various schools, clubs and libraries throughout the county including Martin County Schools and Boys and Girls Clubs.
Research shows that children with low self-esteem who may see reading as a chore are often more willing to interact with an animal than with another person. When an animal is present, they focus better on an activity or discussion and refer to the sessions in later conversation. They tend to forget about their limitations during the reading sessions. There also are physiological benefits interacting with animals, including increased relaxation and lower blood pressure.
The HSTC's humane education and pet therapy programs provide a diversified range of pet assisted activities that instill empathy, respect, kindness and responsibility for all animals, the environment, and each other. For more information, call Helen Savill at 772-600-3220 or visit the website,
Since 1955, the Humane Society of the Treasure Coast, located at 4100 SW Leighton Farm Ave. in Palm City, has been the leading advocate for animal welfare in the Martin County area. A 501(c)3 private, nonprofit organization, the Humane Society relies on donations, wills and bequests to support its programs and services. As a local Humane Society, HSTC is run independently from any national welfare or humane organization with no financial assistance from these groups. Follow the HSTC on Facebook at and Twitter at and Instagram at hstcadopt. For more information, visit or call 772-223-8822. Media inquiries: 772-221-2425 •
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