May 2013

Children flock to our library to read to the dogs. I know of one boy who literally runs down the sidewalk, book in hand, just to be one of the first through the door. Caregivers who have a reluctant reader at home constantly tell us that they used to think nothing would motivate their child to pick up a book. The dogs have changed all that. Struggling readers look forward to seeing their favorite dogs and spend time practicing their books beforehand so that the story will be “just right” for their furry friend. The relaxed, nonthreatening environment calms their nerves and fosters confidence. Our handlers often tell children that they are helping the dogs learn to read, too. This idea empowers reluctant readers, many of whom are not used to being a step ahead and in a position to teach others what they know. PAWS 4 Reading also motivates more accomplished readers, giving them yet another reason to head to the library after school. This is a fantastic program for the children in our community, and it complements our existing programming perfectly.

Children’s librarian at Benson Memorial Library in Titusville, PA

Children who have been uncomfortable with reading come away with confidence and pride. R.E.A.D. allows a child to read in a non judgmental place and gain confidence in reading and they develop a friendship with a dog. Helen (handler) is supportive when it is needed and always greets the children with warmth and a smile. Children are curious about the dog and she answers the questions with patience and interest. We wish we could offer PAWS at each of our libraries! We are very satisfied!

R.E.A.D. Team Helen Kline Kranz and George
Librarian Assistant at the Helling Public Library in Nevada City, CA

The R.E.A.D. program, in the hands/paws of these teams, has provided invaluable benefits to children. Parents constantly remark about their children’s enthusiasm for reading to George (the dog) and the increases in reading skills which have ensued. Often, no other incentive has been nearly as successful.

Lucinda deLorimier, Children’s Librarian
Madelyn Helling Library, Nevada City, California

May 2009

When I first heard about Scotts the Reading Dog, I didn’t quite know what to make of it. I’m wary of dogs, but when I met Scottsy, I immediately made an exception. He has such a calm, gentle demeanour, I could understand how children would feel at ease with him. I told my neighbour about Scotts’ forthcoming visit and she brought her daughter Eleanor (9) and son Oliver (7) along. Eleanor has become a keen reader since being introduced to the Daisy Meadows Rainbow Fairy series. For Oliver, though, it wasn’t so easy. Even with encouragement from his family, reading was for him a chore and not a pleasure. I was busy serving on the counter that afternoon, but was very pleased and surprised when I turned and saw Oliver reading to Scotts. He proudly told me later he was “the second one.” All I can say is that the experience has made a profound change in him. Straight away he wanted to join the Big Wild Read and read two of the Next Steps books to me that evening. And he couldn’t wait to visit the library again to choose some more books. Oliver goes to Junior School in September, and this has given his confidence a real boost. As we come to the end of the Big Wild Read Summer Promotion, I expect we are all feeling rather weary. Oliver’s story is just one example that shows the importance of the work we are doing in Library Service.

Susan Bancroft, Library Assistant
Rushden Library, Northamptonshire, England, UK

July 14, 2007

I want to thank you for this inspiring (yes, I truly think that is the right word) new library service to the children of Edmond. Here are two typical examples of the good that is being done for these children: One mother confided to me that she has brought her daughter, who is very fearful of dogs, to read to the dogs many times, because meeting your well-trained, friendly R.E.A.D. animals in a library has been helpful therapy for her. The Title One reading specialist at one of the Edmond elementary schools put up a sign reminding her students they could read to dogs every Thursday at the library. We also had a special night for her students, when parents were encouraged to come to the library, get library cards, and have their children read to the dogs. This teacher has told me that a great percentage of her children who need special tutoring have started using the library on Thursday evenings. One child’s experience impressed her especially. This fourth grade girl, who is sufficiently delayed that she is enrolled in the special reading program, would not read to her mother and would not read to her reading teacher. Simply refused. But she came regularly on Thursday evenings and willingly read to the dogs and accepted help from the human volunteer. Both the mother and the teacher were very impressed with this breakthrough and the wonderful benefit of your dogs at the library, for this girl is really struggling with academics and self-esteem. I have heard so many similar stories over the past year. I know from those, and my own observations, that R.E.A.D. is a valuable service!

Karen Lehr, Children’s Librarian
Metro Library, Edmond, OK

January 1, 2005

“I know the kids really enjoy it because they keep coming back again.”

Amber Elagha, Children’s Librarian
Barstow (CA) Branch Library

December 6, 2004

We’re finding that even kids who have trouble reading love to read to a dog. The kids have a lot of fun, and a dog, unlike a parent or teacher, isn’t likely to say, “You’re doing it all wrong; read faster.”

Aspen Butterfield
Douglas County Library, Castle Rock, CO

There is a very special, totally uncritical and calming connection between the dogs and the readers. The positive experience with books improves literacy and promotes the library in a unique and personal way.

Priscilla Queen, Outreach Coordinator
Douglas County Libraries, Castle Rock, CO

September 7, 2004

The children are so excited about reading and are reading more. They think it is so neat to have dogs come into the library. This program is great. We have children waiting in line to read.

Stephanie Brown, Children’s Specialist, and Diane Davis, Head Librarian
First Regional Liibrary, Hernando Public Library, Hernando, Mississippi

August 18, 2004

I wish to state what a wonderful experience it has been having Ottawa Therapy Dogs come to the library this summer. When Joan first dropped in and presented me with the information, especially the video, I was intrigued by the idea of starting such a program here. I saw it as an avenue for promoting literacy within the library, and it exceeded my expectations by more than I could have imagined. Met at first with both curiosity and some skepticism from parents, I was worried that we would have no responses, despite having worked the R.E.A.D. program into the Summer Reading Club activities. Luckily, one very skeptical parent signed up both of her sons, and the program was off to a start. Since then, we have had all traces of skepticism vanish, as the boys and the other children who have signed up have made visible improvement.

Susan E. Klinck, Children’s Librarian
Renfrew Public Library
Renfrew , Ontario, CANADA

August 13, 2004

This program has been wonderful for giving children an opportunity to practice their reading skills in a non-threatening environment. Added benefits have been helping children overcome their fear of dogs, seeing children read more, and teaching the public about therapy dogs and their many jobs. It has been great!

Dana A. Campbell, Youth Services Librarian
Corvallis-Benton County Public Library, Corvallis, OR

August 19, 2002

I would like to give my fervent endorsement to the need for funding for the R.E.A.D. program of Intermountain Therapy Animals. Our young patrons who participated in “Dog Days at the Library” thoroughly enjoyed the benefits of reading with the dogs. Many of these children thought it was a punishment to have to sit down and read. But when they came to the library to read to the dogs, they were full of excitement and anxious to read! It was very exciting for me to see these children with one hand on the dog (for comfort) and the other hand following along in their book, reading with the help of the dog’s owner/tutor. These children “knew” that in these dogs they had someone who was really interested in the fact that they were reading, and that it didn’t matter how well they read. They were very serious about selecting a book “their” dog would enjoy. Many parents could not express enough thanks to us for offering this program. It really made a difference in how their children felt about reading.

Linda Schmida, Youth Services Librarian
Summit County Library, Park City, Utah

April 25, 2009

I have to once again thank you for the gift you are giving to the El Marino children and their families. Tonight as I was taking down the posters, a girl from the weekly program and her dad were looking at the pictures of the animals. I had never met the dad before. He looked at me and said, “She reads to them every week. I never thought it would work! I don’t know HOW it works, but it does! “Are you noticing a difference?” I asked. “She was never interested in reading before. Never. And now she is! I can’t get over it!” This dad was so excited -pretty much floating on air. And I don’t know that he could have had a bigger smile on his face. And so, on behalf of this dad and many others, I send you all a million thanks. May your generosity and gifts come back to you many times over.