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Move Over Dewey! Here Comes the Library Dogs! January 14, 2010

Posted by pupfiction in Uncategorized.
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Ever since I saw a picture of a cute black lab hanging outside of my local public library I became interested in the phenomena of children reading to dogs. (I even looked into getting my two over-excited labs trained for just such a program and if you are interested you should check out therapyanimals.org’s page on Reading Education Assistance Dogs aka READ.) While I excitedly told my friends and family about this great library program and was always greeted with smiles, someone did finally ask “just how does having a dog present help with reading skills?”. To be honest, I didn’t have a clue. Kids love dogs so they might jump at the opportunity to read to them–that was my only response. So it was with great excitement that I read this post by the Book Patrol blog on just such programs.

From Alice Jamieson's Flickr Stream, Creative Commons Licensed

The post entitled, “These Libraries Are Going to the Dogs,” cites empirical evidence that “the program has been so successful in improving reading scores that it has spread nationwide, over 2,300 dog and trainer teams are now helping reluctant readers become book lovers, according to a 2009 ABC News story.”

The reasons are numerous:
1. Children who are embarrassed by their reading skills do not feel embarrassed in front of dogs.
2. “The dogs are patient, nonjudgmental, and can even be trained to be encouraging.”
3. Reading becomes more like a reward or a game than homework.
4. Homeless children, crippled by stress, make time to read to the dogs.
5. Children choose what they want to read rather than be held to specific books.

Read the whole post here!

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