Canines for Literacy (formerly Paws for READing) is part of the Canines for Therapy/Canines for Service therapy dogs program, where certified Canines for Therapy teams help children in local schools improve their reading and communication skills. Canines for Literacy is an affiliate program of Reading Education Assistance Dogs® (R.E.A.D.®), an Intermountain Therapy Animals program.


For children with poor reading capabilities, reading aloud to a group can be intimidating. Canines for Literacy teams serve as literacy mentors, assisting children with their quiet presence and helping them develop a love of reading in a judgment-free environment. 

Each Canines for Literacy Team is a certified Canines for Therapy team and has completed a comprehensive training program. Following successful certification as a Canines for Therapy team, a Canines for Literacy team shadows a current team and then completes an additional 4-hour Reading Education Assistance Dogs® (R.E.A.D.®) course.  To learn more about  Reading Education Assistance Dogs® (R.E.A.D.®) visit Intermountain Therapy Animals.


Children in the greater Wilmington, NC, community can participate in the New Hanover County Northeast Library, Pender Library and at selected New Hanover Country elementary schools during the school year. For more information, please email:


Our Canines for Literacy teams not only help to improve a child's reading skills, they also:

  • Motivate and support children as they practice reading aloud in the company of the dog and with the support of the dog’s handler.

  • Maintain focus, decrease school absenteeism and increase task persistence.

  • Develop a foundation for lifelong learning help reduce a child’s blood pressure and heart rate, helping nervous readers relax and focus.

  • Promote an additional way an animal can make a positive difference in children's lives.

  • Teach pet responsibility.


Reading is magical. It opens the world and creates opportunity. Reading is the basis for our lives.


By becoming a Canines for Therapy team, you will experience the magic of a child conquering reading for the first time or watch a mother learn for the first time that her child can read.


To learn more about becoming a certified Canines for Therapy team visit the Canines for Therapy page.


Since starting the program in 2002, Canines for Therapy has provided Canines for Literacy services to almost 1,300 children in New Hanover County, Brunswick, Duplin, Wake and Durham County schools, library programs and community activities. 92% of the children who have participated in Canines for Literacy have improved their reading capabilities.


221 Old Dairy Road, Unit 1
Wilmington NC 28405

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Canines for Service Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Contributions to Canines for Service Inc. are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by applicable law.  Tax identification number: 56-2118747

Canines for Service Inc., Canines for Veterans and Canines for Therapy are registered trademarks of Canines for Service Inc.  All rights reserved. 

©2018 Canines for Service Inc.