>> At the beginning of the year in PS57 in Spanish Harlem, third grade students were reading below grade level. But then they met Izzy.>> I love reading to Izzy because he listens to me and he doesn't make fun of me when I make a mistake.>> How will he, he find-
>> By early May, nearly all of the students had reached or surpassed their grade level. Therapy dogs, like Izzy, are the heart, soul, and wagging tail of a literacy program in schools and libraries that encourages young readers. Especially important for immigrant children who face the added challenge of mastering English as a second language.
Teachers say they're seeing great results.>> So not only do the kids have time to practice reading, what we're really seeing is that they're excited to read and they're motivated to practice even when Izzy's not here.>> When it was the first time I read to him, I kind of got surprised, then I started working more.
>> Primarily geared toward students in kindergarten through third grade, the program serves 175 children in New York City schools alone. Its parent organization, Intermittent Therapy Animals, has animals that work in schools and hospitals around the country. The goal of this program is that the kids will one day feel comfortable enough reading without a cute animal in their lap.