I’m something of a sucker for a good info graphic, anything that visually presents much-needed info in as little real estate as possible. Lately I’ve been seeing some very good–and very shocking–info graphics regarding reading and literacy. Here is an example.

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–image credit RobertBrewer.org

Wow. Just….wow.

As a woman with an English literature degree, a wall of books in her house, and a sadness that I am not currently in a book club, I know that I am a shining failure as far as it is concerned. Yet I am concerned. Terrified, in fact. This unread, unfeeling population will be voting, determining national policy, and deciding what assisted-living home I’ll wind up in.

Divine Canines is a Texas-based organization that provides assistance and therapy to different populations, but one of my favorite outreach projects is that they take service animals into schools to help children learn to read. Dogs are ever patient, ever kind, and especially so when it comes to listening to a child read out loud. There is no hurry to read more quickly, no pressure to read a different book that hasn’t already been read 115 times. Dogs just listen, happy to bask in the attention of a child.

As big a fan as I am of Divine Canines (and I really am. One of my fondest hopes is that Eleanor and Beatrice will one day be well-behaved enough to be certified as reading dogs), not everyone lives in Texas. Divine Canines don’t make it to every school. So why not press your own dog or cat or even horse into service? They are trusted friends, just as happy to listen and spend some quality literary time with their pal. Ramona and Howard show us how it’s done.

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–photo credit Becca Cody DVM

School is just about to start, so why not get a head start on making a mockery of this info graphic by having your child read to his or her furry, four-legged sibling this evening? And Howard, I know you’re fond of higher education and all, but kittens aren’t allowed in second grade!

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–photo credit Becca Cody DVM