A Simple, Common Sense Idea Sparks Literacy

Kids Read to Dogs at Fitchburg Library

by Sienna Murray, age 11

     Reading Education Assistance Dogs aren’t like the average dogs you would find in the nearby park. They are registered as therapy dogs in a new program at Fitchburg Public Library.
     These dogs, according to Library Assistant Brittany Gitzlaff, “love nothing more than to lie down, and be read to” by children who are learning to read. The program, R.E.A.D. to a Dog, is based on the idea that reading to a dog is an encouraging way to build reading skills. It helps children be less afraid to read out loud and to be okay with messing up words sometimes. The dog will not criticize the way the child reads. The R.E.A.D dogs are calm and easy to read to. All of this makes them great reading buddies.
     This program is a chance for kids who struggle with their reading and have a hard time admitting that they need a little extra help. It’s a great way to practice in a relaxed environment.
     At the Fitchburg Public Library, one of the most popular dogs is a golden retriever named Raider who is friendly, gentle, and loves attention. Children that are independent readers in grades K-5 can read to Raider, or the other dogs, every third Tuesday of the month. Owners of the dogs and children who are in the program may bring their own favorite books from home.
     Interested children can sign up for the program at the Fitchburg Public Library. For more information on R.E.A.D to a Dog at the Fitchburg Public Library, contact the children’s desk at 608-729-1762.
     The Fitchburg Public Library loves to see kids read and looks for ways to encourage young readers. The library staff thinks reading should be fun. We agree. And we think the concept of children reading to dogs is an extremely creative idea.

[Source: Fitchburg Public Library Assistant]

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