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Poetry and puppies
Poetry and puppies

Phoebe, Teddy, Bessie, Balto and Tater Bean proved to be an exciting audience to hear poetry from second grade students at Dayton Elementary School. The "Poetry and Puppies" program brought together student writers and canines from Therapy Dogs International.

Dayton Elementary teachers adopted the Lucy Calkins Unit of Study a few years ago. It's a nationally-recognized writing curriculum to improve reading comprehension and writing skills. Poetry is the last unit, which ties in nicely with National Poetry Month.

"At the end of each unit we try to come up with a fun way to celebrate their work by sharing a published piece with a special audience," says teacher Heather Frauhiger. "The Lafayette Therapy Dogs organization was happy to serve as our audience."

Student Mady Monks enjoys writing her own poems. "Writing mask poems is my favorite because I get to pretend to be someone or something that I am not," Mady says.

Classmate Colier Selby enjoys sharing his work with the therapy dogs. "Sometimes when reading to people I get embarrassed,"
says Colier. "Reading to dogs is not embarrassing. I know if I get nervous or frustrated I can pet them to calm down and keep reading."

The students shared their writings about climbing a tree, the beach and their favorite animals with the therapy dogs.