Nov 07, 2006

Seagate and Longmont Humane Society Launch "Paws to Listen"

Seagate Technology (NYSE: STX) today announced it will sponsor an innovative reading program with the Longmont Humane Society (LHS), called Paws to Listen. Seagate donated $5,000 to establish the program, which is aimed at helping children get hooked on reading, using dogs as reading companions. The Paws to Listen program will debut at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 15 in the reading corner of the LHS thrift store, at 1265 Bramwood Place in Longmont.

"Dogs are known to be good overall companions and to help lift spirits, which is why they're often taken to nursing homes to visit with the residents," said Linda Tyler, executive director of LHS. "Now, we're beginning to see powerful evidence that dogs can encourage children to be lifelong learners, just by lying down near the reading child and 'listening,' to them.

Programs like Paws to Listen are gaining popularity throughout the country, because dogs provide a non-threatening environment and a non-judgmental ear for children who are trying to build confidence in reading aloud."

"We're very excited to be a part of this new program for children in our community," said Seagate's Andy Davis, vice president of design engineering. "While we most often focus our funds on education in math and science, we recognize that excelling in these areas-or in any academic endeavor-requires good reading skills. We look forward to watching the kids' enthusiasm for reading grow into a real passion for learning."

Experts say it's not enough to know how to read; children need to attain a desire to read. According to the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), an organization sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education and also known as "the nation's report card," kids who don't read for fun have much lower reading scores than kids who do. And the latest figures from NAEP show that 40 percent of fourth-graders in the United States read below their grade level. That figure is even higher among U.S. minority populations.

"The anecdotal evidence showing the positive effects is so powerful, that in the short term we're just hoping to get kids to come and read with the dogs for fun," Tyler said. "But our eventual goal is to partner with the school districts to take the dogs to the kids, and create an educational benchmark to start tracking their progress."

Currently, LHS is using eight specially trained, registered therapy dogs for the Paws to Listen program. The dogs have been trained and tested for health, safety, skills and temperament, and range in age from 2 to 11 years. In addition to receiving training in managing the animal, dog handlers are specially taught to help the children with vocabulary and comprehension.

MEDIA NOTE: Children and parents will be available for interviews during the event, as will representatives from LHS and Seagate.

About Longmont Humane Society
Longmont Humane Society is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of animals. We provide temporary shelter to thousands of animals every year: dogs, cats, small mammals, and birds that are lost, abandoned, or surrendered. Loving attention, nutritious food, meticulous health care and daily exercise are standard parts of the high-quality care provided to each animal. More information can be found at www.longmonthumane.org.

About Seagate Technology
Seagate is the worldwide leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of hard disc drives, providing products for a wide-range of Enterprise, Desktop, Mobile Computing, and Consumer Electronics applications. Seagate's business model leverages technology leadership and world-class manufacturing to deliver industry-leading innovation and quality to its global customers, and to be the low cost producer in all markets in which it participates. The company is committed to providing award-winning products, customer support and reliability to meet the world's growing demand for information storage. Seagate can be found around the globe and at www.seagate.com.

Seagate, Seagate Technology and the Wave logo are U.S. registered trademarks of Seagate Technology LLC.