Books for Elementary School Readers

There is a new, innovative program helping kids learn to read in SW Virginia, using Therapy Dogs and free books.
         The SHARE Program --
Sending Home Awesome Reading Experiences

Here in the small towns of the mountains, children's books are often in short supply and rarely read at home.  The goal of our program is to put books in children's homes and to make reading fun and interesting.  This will increase childhood literacy in our area.

The way we do this is innovative and effective, and a great time for everyone involved.  First, our volunteers write stories about their dogs, like their daily lives or a special event.  Then we illustrate and publish them as books.  We get hundreds of these books printed, grab our dogs, and head for the classrooms!

In the classroom, we introduce the dog to the class.  We talk about the dog and answer questions while the kids pet the dog.  Then the books come out.  We all read the book together and talk about what they read and learned.  Every child gets a FREE copy of the book to take home and read with their families.

This program works.  We've done this program before, but in a much smaller way.  In discussion and interviews with teachers and parents we have found that the children get much more excited about reading, improve their reading skills as a result of more reading, and they realize that books can be about actual people and animals and not just boring subjects.

We've had only one complaint so far.  One mother 'complained' that when her daughter brought the book home the whole family had to get together at bedtime and read the book, every night.  I will take that 'complaint' any day.  (The mother was a friend of mine.)

The hardest part of the program (and any program) is funding.  In our county and the adjoining sister-county there are 2550 students.  Printing books is not cheap -- it's difficult to get a thin half-sheet sized paperback done for under $3.00 each.  We are constantly searching for a cheaper printer but not finding one.  The schools have donated small sums of money to the program but it covers only a fraction of the cost. 

The rest of the program is easy.  Teachers are involved as well as our volunteers and dogs.  We want to begin our first reading program within the next 30 days, then continue to the other schools in late winter & spring.
We cannot thank our donors enough for their contributions.  This program is an investment in the future of our rural communities, and will have long lasting effects on our students' ability to learn.  That can help break the cycle of poverty that affects much of Appalachia today.

Kids that read have power, and that power can lead them to a brighter future.  Let's help some kids get that power.


  • Tabeier Hamilton 
    • $50 
    • 43 mos
  • Arnie Wodtke 
    • $200 
    • 46 mos
  • Ken and Debbie Dankowski 
    • $50 
    • 46 mos
  • Deetta Bishoff  
    • $10 
    • 46 mos
  • Nancy & Tom Dankowski 
    • $100 
    • 46 mos
See all


Bill Marshall 
Wytheville, VA
Wythe-Bland Animal Welfare League 
Registered nonprofit
Donations are typically 100% tax deductible in the US.
Learn more
  • #1 fundraising platform

    More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more

  • Expert advice, 24/7

    Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more