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- 67% of children in fourth grade in the U.S. are still not achieving proficiency in reading (NAEP Report, 2013). This statistic has unfortunately remained unchanged since 2007. Therefore, innovative programs that help children to develop the skills they need early on are essential, and especially programs that satisfy the Common Core Standards in Language Arts.
- 60% of children who scored above the 75th percentile reported reading for fun almost every day (NAEP Report, 2013). Enjoyment of reading results in children wanting to do more of it, which means they become more proficient and highly skilled. This is kind of like playing golf or doing anything you love – if you like it, you’ll do more of it, and hopefully get better at it! Our goal as educators is to inspire children to have fun with and enjoy reading.
- Approximately 400,000 incidents of dog bites to children are documented in the United States annually (Jalongo, 2008). Dr. Mary Jalongo notes that this may be a low estimate because not all injuries are reported. Young children are at the highest risk of sustaining dog bites, and because young children are small, these bites are more likely to be serious or disfiguring. Yet research indicates that many dog bites to children are preventable with age-appropriate education.
“The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that of the 80,000 Americans seeking medical attention for dog bites each year, half are children. The rate is highest among children aged 5 to 9 years, and that rate increases the younger the child. By the time children turn 12, half of them have been bitten by a dog, the overwhelming majority of which belong to friends or family. Sadly, many injuries may be the result of inappropriate behavior on the part of the child, as most children have not learned how to act around dogs. Teaching children appropriate behavior around dogs can significantly help reduce their chances of being bitten. By learning appropriate ways to act around dogs, children will not only be safer, but will also develop respect and responsibility for their actions. Finally, by understanding how dogs feel in certain situations, children will hone a sense of empathy for the feelings and needs of others.” – Excerpt from American Humane Association, 2009
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) estimates that “animal shelters care for 6-8 million dogs and cats every year in the United States, of whom approximately 3-4 million are euthanized.” Too often, family dogs are relinquished to shelters if they have bitten a family member, and especially if they have bitten a child. By providing age-appropriate lessons that teach children how to interact with and meet the unique needs of dogs, we can help prevent the large number of pets unnecessarily relinquished to shelters and subsequently euthanized as a result of a family bite incident. For countless more pets, we can help to dramatically increase their quality of life by helping children to understand that animals have needs and feelings, just like us, and to help children to begin to relate to all animals in their lives with increased empathy and respect. This program is offered through Loving All Animals, a first-class and award-winning 501(c)3 non-profit organization in Palm Desert, California, to bring this program to children in schools in Palm Springs Unified School District and beyond. At Loving All Animals, our mission is to “bring together local and national animal welfare organizations to work together for the benefit of animals.”