Read to a Dog!

For readers in grades K – 6

Ollie is a mini-poodle, and Maury is a yellow lab. Children can sign up to read Ollie or Maury for fifteen minute time slots. Ollie is at library on Thursdays from 3:15 – 5:00 p.m., and Maury is at the library on Mondays from 3:30 – 4:30 p.m.. Please stop by the library or call us at 799-1720 to register.

About Our Program

Children in grades K – 6, especially struggling or less-than-confident readers, are invited to sign up for 15-minute time slots to Ollie

(Adapted from R.E.A.D., Reading Education Assistance Dogs) Some of the documented benefits of therapy with animals include lowering of blood pressure and heart rate, increased relaxation, and a tendency to forget about pain and limitations.

A research study almost 30 years ago found that when children get nervous, especially when talking to others, their blood pressure can rise very high, but that if a dog joins the scene, blood pressure will go down very low, whether the child and dog are sitting quietly together or whether the child is reading to the dog. We suspect part of that is because dogs are so trustworthy-people just know they don’t have to be self-conscious or worried or embarrassed when they’re with a dog.

Remember that even most adults are terrified of public speaking, and most of us have forgotten how daunting it is to have to expound in front of our peers. Often, kids who are learning to read get stressed, not because they aren’t capable of reading but because they get nervous and self-conscious, they worry about making mistakes, they worry about looking dumb-and all those worries make it hard to focus. They dread reading in front of their friends, so they often “freeze up” and things just get worse. When they read with a dog, right away they start to relax, and then they forget about feeling self-conscious or nervous, and pretty soon things start to flow a little better. Before they know it, they are enjoying theexperience of reading instead of dreading it, they’re even looking forward to the next time. It is simple, and it works beautifully! It also extends beyond the immediate reading experience-many teachers have noted that children who participate in the R.E.A.D. program start to raise their hands and speak out in class when they never could before. Visit Dogs On Call/R.E.A.D. for more information.

A note to parents: This program currently takes place in the Window Seat Area of the Children’s Room. The program works best if your child is in the area alone with the dog and his handler–otherwise, the experience becomes an exercise in reading to the parent, instead of reading to the dog.  If your child does not want you to leave while he or she reads, that’s okay, but it would be best to stay off to the side as much as possible.

 

Goodbye Winston