Monday, January 28, 2013

Children gain skills when they read to dogs in the library

Make no bones about it, children are improving their reading skills at Fauquier County Public Library Paws to Read programs and having a whole lot of fun while they're at it. 

Children who are hesitant to read aloud in front of others find reading to dogs presents an opportunity to read aloud in a nonjudgemental setting. This kind of encouragement is proving to be beneficial to young readers nationwide.

This week the Library Journal reported that therapy dogs' presence is growing in libraries across the country. The article cites a Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University study that found that second-grade students with a range of reading aptitudes and attitudes toward reading experienced a gain in their reading ability and improvement in their attitudes toward reading after reading to therapy dogs. In the same study, those who read to people experienced a decrease on both measures.

Other studies found children's reading skills increased as much as two grade levels after reading to dogs over a several week period.

Bealeton’s first Paws event in January was cancelled due to snow, but an introductory "meet and greet" last November drew a crowd. One dad said that when his young son heard about the program he was so determined to read to a dog that he taught himself to read Hop on Pop. The next program in Bealeton is 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 18. If you have questions about the Bealeton Library program call (540) 422-8500, ext. 3, or email Ann McDuffie.

The John Marshall Library's Paws program began in 2005 and has remained popular ever since. "One of our regulars has grown up with the dogs," says Branch Manager Deborah Cosby, "She is proud she has perfect attendance - she hasn't missed a Paws program in four years." The next program in Marshall is 4 p.m. Wednesday, March 7. If you have questions about the John Marshall Library program call (540) 422-8500, ext. 4, or email Deborah Crosby.

2013 UPDATE:  Paws to Read is now at all three library locations.  Stop by the Warrenton Library this afternoon at 4 pm.  Since school's out today, it could be just the perfect thing for an afternoon activity for your children. 

Fauquier's Paws to Read programs are free, but you do need a signed permission slip to attend.

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