(Rome City Schools media release):

On Wednesday, October 6, third grade students at Elm Street Elementary School jumped on a bus headed towards Public Animal Welfare Services (P. A. W. S.) where they planned to read a book of their choice to the pups at the shelter.

Even with masks, it was hard to miss the smiles on each student’s face as they filed into the lobby, books in hand and ready to go.

“We haven’t been able to get back to P. A. W. S. since COVID, so we are just very excited to finally be able to bring the students here today and get them reading,” smiled Elm Street teacher, Chris White.

What started as part of Elm Street’s “A Reason to Read” program around five years ago, has blossomed into a highly anticipated activity that all students enjoy.

“The thought behind ‘A Reason to Read’ was to put students in situations where there was no pressure and would be no judgement. They could just read,” explained White. “It was also a chance to help out our community. The students truly believe they are doing something great through being able to help socialize the dogs at P. A.W. S… They enjoy every second of it.”

Elm Street students Jaden Tang and James Espino took turns reading their books to Cyclone, their favorite shelter dog. “Cyclone is a really good listener,” smiled Tang. “He is really sweet and liked our books we chose to bring!”