In multiple Oklahoma library systems, kids are bending
fuzzy ears to their books of choice. Reading to dogs is a growing hobby, as it
provides opportunities for children to practice reading out loud.
The Metropolitan Library System’s “Reading to Dogs”
program in Oklahoma City has partnered with two therapy dog organizations and
some individual owners to bring the canines to their libraries.
Kristin Williamson, children’s services coordinator for
the system, said the dogs appeal mostly to younger kids, but there are some
older readers, especially students who struggle with reading out loud.
“The dogs are a non-judgmental audience, so it can really
build a child’s confidence with being able to read out loud,” Williamson said.
She recalled hearing about one child who said he was
reading to stuffed animals at home as practice for reading to the dogs.
In Tulsa kids have been reading to dogs at libraries
since 2005. The “PAWS for Reading” program started in a single library, where
it was so popular that the kids had to join a waiting list. From there it
started to spread, and now it is in 15 libraries in the Tulsa City-County
Library system, said Tracy Warren, community outreach and literary services
There are 21 dogs in Tulsa’s program. Barkley is a
terrier/poodle mix that visits Jenks Library. He was rescued from the Tulsa
Animal Shelter in 2003, and went through training to become a therapy dog a few
years ago. On the other end of the size spectrum is Jack, an Irish Wolfhound
and a common visitor in Owasso and Collinsville.
All the dogs in both
programs are certified therapy dogs. All the pooches have been trained to be calm in
any environment and respond to multiple people.
Rules for reading to dogs vary from site to site. In Oklahoma City, Williamson said some of the bigger
libraries have such high interest that it’s best to call the library ahead of
time to let them know you’re coming. There are also occasional special days
when a therapy cat or miniature horse might make an appearance.
The Oklahoma State
Department of Education is already hard at work making plans for this year’s
Vision 2020 conference. We hope to see you there!
The conference will take
place July 15-17 at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City.
A new website for the
conference will launch soon. Watch for that here.
In the meantime, we’re looking
for some good speakers. Who would you like to see leading a session? You can
nominate anyone, even yourself.
Nominate Vision 2020
speakers this week:
To quote Japanese music educator Shinichi Suzuki, “Teaching music is not my main purpose. I want to make good citizens. If children hear fine music from the day of their birth and learn to play it, they develop sensitivity, discipline and endurance. They get a beautiful heart.”
I was inspired recently when I met a group of teachers at a Great Expectations conference. The title of this blog post was our topic of discussion.
The power of a teacher is to make a child safe, to challenge, and to encourage to give courage. Our power is to create other incredible teachers, police officers, potters or architects. Our positive influence rings in the heads of supportive spouses or co-workers. Most importantly, at the heart of the power and influence of a teacher is our ability to create the next generation of supportive, loving parents who children deserve and constantly need.
Read the full post at Peter Markes's OKTOY Blog:
The Oklahoma State
Department of Education is partnering again with College Board to provide a
series of pre-AP and AP workshops throughout Oklahoma this semester.
Workshops are being
offered in math, English, science and social studies in all eight regions of the
state. Although a few sessions have happened, most are still to come. They will
continue through May 9.
The workshops will focus
on successful instructional methods by subject.
For a list of all the
workshops and to register, visit: http://www.ok.gov/sde/free-regional-pre-apap-training
Oklahoma Summer Institutes
Registration is open for
AP Summer Institute courses at the University of Oklahoma and the University of
Tulsa. The Oklahoma State Department of Education has gathered links to
information and registration for both on its website.
provide an opportunity for AP teachers to explore the latest methods and curriculum
in their subjects while meeting each other.
State Department of Education is excited to announce that over $1 million will soon be made available to eligible districts to engage in a
competitive grant process that further supports math and science professional
development and promotes integrated STEM instruction.
Due to the
collaborative nature of this grant, school districts will need to partner with
other districts and institutions of higher education. Please begin
thinking about forging these partnerships prior to the formal announcement in
Watch for more details in future editions of Educator Currents.
The aerospace industry in Oklahoma has a $12 billion
annual output and employs more than 70,000 people, according to the Oklahoma
Aerospace Commission, but there is a lack of qualified employees and engineers
in the state.
In an effort to build a stronger link between educators
and the industry, the Aerospace Education and Industry Partnership (AEIP) is
hosting a summer conference for STEM teachers in grades 3-12 and counselors to
show how the processes students learn today could lead to careers in the
This year’s AEIP Day will take place July 31 at Rose
State College in Midwest City. Attendees will receive a $100 stipend and a $110
Pitsco gift certificate. Previous fellows will also be receiving $15,000 in
The conference will last all day and include networking opportunities.
Space is limited, so be ready to register as soon as it opens May 1.
For more information visit: http://www.rose.edu/aerospace