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Therapy Dogs at the New Berlin Public Library

You may have read or heard about our Read to Rover program that we offer in the Youth Services Department, which invites children to come to the library and read to a well-trained therapy dog. You may have thought, dogs in the library? How interesting.

It’s more than just bringing a dog into the library though for children to pet and spend time with. While most of our dog owners do allow children to pet the dogs and just say hello (which can be valuable in itself), the program can be especially beneficial to children learning to read or those who are struggling with their reading.

It can be intimidating for children to read aloud to an adult, such as an older sibling, parent or teacher. It can be even more intimidating for children to read aloud to their peers, which school age children often have to do in classrooms. Some children may even be quite advanced readers, but they still feel nervous when reading aloud to others. These can all be reasons why you may want to bring them to the library to practice reading to one of our therapy dogs.

Reading to a therapy dog can help children feel more comfortable than reading to a person because dogs don’t judge if a word is mispronounced. Dogs can also have a calming effect on people, which can help children who often feel nervous when reading aloud. Not to mention that all the extra practice can help improve reading and oral skills!

Do you have a child who is just learning to read and you want to motivate them more? Many of the kids who come to the library are very excited when one of the dogs are here, and often think reading to them is fun! This is a great way to get your child excited about reading.

What about if your child hasn’t started reading yet, but they love dogs? Can they still participate in the program? Of course they can! We have had young children come and “read” a book to a therapy dog, just by using the pictures to tell the story. Not only does this increase a love for books and a motivation to start reading, but it can improve oral skills and imagination as well. There are benefits for everyone!

This fall we are lucky enough to have three therapy dogs come to our library. All of the sessions are on a drop-in basis, so no registration is required to participate. Children can bring their own book or choose one from the library to read. For a complete Read to Rover schedule, please view our Sept/Oct 2016 Fall Programs for Youth and Parents flyer

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About the Author

Kate is a Youth Services Librarian at New Berlin Public Library.... Read More »

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