Improving kids’ reading skills takes doggedness – and sometimes a dog

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Emmy, a golden retriever, is lying quietly beside 7-year-old Anna-Maria, who’s holding a book in her hands. The dog, wearing a red neckerchief inscribed with the German word “Lesehund” – “reading dog” – is a key player in a volunteer project aimed at helping kids who have trouble reading aloud to overcome their inhibitions. Anna-Maria pets Emmy as she starts to read, and the words come out quite fluently. “‘Artist,’ ‘astronaut’ – you even read the really hard words well!” praises Kerstin Deters, Emmy’s owner. Deters, 48, says she’s currently the only trainer of reading dog teams – comprising a…

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