Monday, November 9, 2009

Statement by Senator Orrin Hatch on National READ Day

Statement by Senator Orrin G. Hatch
Before the United States Senate
On the Designation of November 14, 2009, as
“National Reading Education Assistance Dogs Day”

MR. HATCH: Mr. President, I rise today to introduce a resolution regarding the 10th Anniversary of the Reading Education Assistance Dogs (R.E.A.D.) program by designating November 14, 2009, as “National Reading Assistance Dogs Day.” This is a nationwide program promoted by a number of organizations throughout the United States and even throughout countries around the world as an innovative, successful approach aimed at assisting some of our nation’s most vulnerable citizens, our children, to learn how to read.

The R.E.A.D. program was the first literacy program in the country to use therapy animals as reading companions for children. This unique method provides children an opportunity to improve their reading skills in a comfortable environment by reading aloud to dogs. Now, Mr. President, after ten years of results, the program has proven to be incredibly successful in helping children who are struggling with this most-crucial and basic of skills. Simply put, this is a program that fills a vital place in the spectrum of a child’s literary education and with over 2,400 voluntary therapy teams around the world, it would be, Mr. President, not overstating the case to say this program has touched and improved thousands of young lives.
Over the span of the previous ten years, this is an achievement that is virtually impossible to measure, yet today, as small token of my own personal appreciation, I introduce a resolution that would designate Saturday, November 14, 2009, as “National Reading Education Assistance Dogs Day.” Once passed, this resolution will recognize the thousands of lives that have been touched as a direct result of this initiative. I am grateful to be the sponsor of a resolution recognizing such an accomplishment and am joined by Senators Bingaman, McCaskill, Cochran, and Risch in this effort.

I commend Intermountain Therapy Animals, a nonprofit organization based in Utah, for first launching this program just ten short years ago. Therefore, in addition to the numerous news stories, television programs, and awards highlighting the value and benefit of this program, I urge my Senate colleagues and every American to join me in recognizing ten successful years of the R.E.A.D. program with hopes of many more years of success to come.

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