It’s all about Children, Dogs and Reading.
Assistance dogs are seen everywhere in grocery stores, retail outlets, hospitals, schools and libraries; yes, even in libraries. The use of trained therapy dogs in reading programs provide children who feel uncomfortable reading out loud in front of teachers, parents and peers into more confident readers. Furry reading buddies are gentle, do not judge, and are willing listeners, and the dog hugs and kisses are free.
The child sits on the floor cuddled up next to his listener dog on a special Dog Day Afternoons reading rug. With the owner/handler sitting nearby, assistance with sounding out or pronouncing a word if needed is offered with the same kindness provided by each of our dog teams. The child gets the empowering feeling of being the helper and teacher.
Children who have participated in similar programs love reading to a willing and gentle friend are noticeably reading more often, attempt more difficult books, and actually look forward to reading. As they improve their literacy skills, they’re not just learning how to read, they’re building self-confidence and learning to love to read!
Our dog volunteers are available throughout the school year (October through April). The program is open to students in 2nd through 5th grade (younger if can read independently). There are two programs at the Woods Branch: a 3-week series on Mondays and Drop-in Saturdays. Children must register for the 3-week series (click here to register online) and receive a Frequent Reader Card, stickers, a bookmark and free book upon completion. Families with varying schedules choose to participate in our Saturday Drop-in from 1-2 pm. Children read on a first-come, first-serve basis, with 10-15 minutes reading time or more depending on whether or not someone is waiting for their turn.
For more information or to volunteer as a chaperone or Dog Team Contact Pat McClary ~ Dog Day Afternoons Program Coordinator by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at the Woods Branch at 313-343-2072.