AMHERST, N.Y. (WKBW) — Wednesday's are a special day for Maria Goldman's special education class at Amherst Middle School, because every Wednesday they get guests. Furry guests.
"It's Wednesday! We get to see the dogs and kitties," student Brandon Walker said.
For the past three years students in Mrs. Goldman's class have read aloud to different animals in the Erie County SPCA'S Paws for Love program.
"A lot of students, when they’re not fluent readers, don’t want to read aloud," Mrs. Goldman said. "But, when you have an animal sitting next to you, it's a little bit more motivating.”
Principal of Amherst Middle School John Griesmer believes kids face a lot of anxiety when it comes to reading. So, Paws for Love is a tactic to held reduce that stress and Mrs. Goldman says it is working.
"We’re seeing our reading scores improve, our fluency improve and most of all the love for reading is increasing," she said.
So, when it came to picking a year long service project for the 2019-2020 school year, picking Paws for Love seemed like a no brainer.
"We’ve benefited from Paws from Love, this would be the year we benefit them," Griesmer said.
As part of Amherst Middle School’s year-long service project the entire school will be raising money and volunteering for Paws for Love year round. Other classrooms may also have the chance to have Paws for Love volunteers visit their classrooms.
"I think it's wonderful that Amherst wants to give back and help them grow their program so that they can benefit more children," Goldman said.