It’s safe to say dogs make everything better. So when a library in Portugal Cove-St. Philips, Canada was thinking about how to encourage more children to read, they knew exactly what to do. They started a program called “Paws 4 Stories” that allowed kids to read to a therapy dog for 15 minutes a week.
Librarian Elyse Sparkes Coombs ran a similar program when she worked in Halifax, and she knew that the program could be successful in Portugal Cove-St. Philips, too.
“I had phenomenal transformations. When we started the program, I had children who wouldn’t read out loud, wouldn’t read period, and sat there for the 15 minutes,” she said.
For some kids, reading aloud can be a bit intimidating. But when they read aloud to a dog, they don’t feel pressured because they know that the dog won’t judge or correct them.
When kids start reading more often, they begin to genuinely enjoy books as a fun activity and not just a homework assignment. Using dogs to help them read more is an adorable and helpful tool to improve their development.
Paws 4 Stories is currently in the trial phase and should be fully rolled out in late September. Here’s to hoping that some of the libraries here in the U.S. take note and starting bringing in some of these cute canines.
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