Friday, June 21, 2013

Paws to Read: Never Doubt the Power of a Cute Dog

I love a lot of the programs and events we hold over at Mentor Public Library; but, if I absolutely positively had to pick a favorite, it would be Paws to Read.

Morgan Kristo reads to her sister, Bridget, and trained therapy dog, Kody, during a Paws to Read session June 19 at Mentor Public Library.
Some kids are shy about reading. It's completely understandable. Reading can be difficult. (Adults forget this sometimes because we've been doing it so long.) And it can be intimidating to read in front of strangers.

So how do you get a reticent reader more comfortable?

Like most problems in life, this conundrum can be solved by adding puppies.

Diva listens as Leah Reamsbottom reads to her.
With our Paws to Read program, we pair shy readers (between the ages of six and 12 years old) with therapy dogs who are trained to be good listeners.

The dogs help the kids relax so they can get used to reading to an audience.

And what do the dogs get out of it? Ear scratches, belly rubs, the adoration of grateful children. Pretty much everything a dog wants. (Maybe add a squirrel to bark at.)

Sophia Kiggins reads "Jack and Jill and Big Dog Bill" to Hannah.
If your child can read independently but is shy about doing it in front of other people, I recommend trying Paws to Read. (Especially if your son or daughter also loves dogs.)

The next session is slated for July 17 at our main branch at 8215 Mentor Avenue and registration for it begins on July 3.

Registration fills up quickly, so contact the children's department at Mentor Public Library soon if you think you child could benefit from Paws to Read.

There is often a waiting list for the program once registration begins.

For more information on Paws to Read and other children’s programs at Mentor Public Library call (440)-255-8811, ext. 221 or log on to

Sometimes, reading to a dog can be a bit distracting. Here, Diva interrupts story time when she decides that she wants a kiss from Leah.

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