By Betty Kirkeminde, College Grove Branch Manager
Every Thursday afternoon, there is a dog in the College Grove Community Library. In libraries across the country, you can find the same scene, children reading to friendly, tail-wagging dogs. The atmosphere is relaxed. Reading to a dog is fun!
For some children, it is more than just a novel experience. Reading ability, like any new skill, takes practice. For beginning and struggling readers, reading aloud to adults or classmates can be stressful. Reading to a trained therapy dog takes away the stress – the dog is a non-judgmental listener. The child can relax with the dog and focus on reading.
Two recent studies by the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine showed improvements of as much as 30% in reading fluency when children were paired with reading therapy dogs.
A five week study by Tufts University found that reading to a dog improved children’s reading ability and attitude toward reading.
Those involved in reading therapy programs find that children who participate are more comfortable reading aloud and read more often. As their literacy skills improve, they look forward to reading.
Two branches of the Williamson County Public Library system have reading therapy dogs who visit regularly. Children of all ages and reading abilities are invited to read to one of our reading dogs.
Betsy or Darby, who are certified by Therapy Dogs International as Tail Waggin’ Tutors, will be at the College Grove Community Library on Thursdays at 2:00 pm during July.
Reuben or Sadie, registered Reading Education Assistance Dogs, are at the Nolensville Public Library one Saturday each month. Their next visit will be on Saturday, July 26, from 1:00 to 3:00 pm.
Please check the library’s website, wcpltn, or call the branch for updates to the schedule.