NEW BREMEN — The first six children gathered for Paws 2 Read Monday at New Bremen Public Library, with even more children on the waiting list for the chance to read to a registered therapy dog.
The idea is that for struggling readers in kindergarten through second grade, reading out loud in front of a class can be a stressful. Reading with a therapy dog, on the other hand, gives students a chance to practice without fear of making mistakes.
“The dogs listen, and don’t tease, laugh or judge,” Branch Supervisor Shelly Parker said.
Mary Ellen Miller, of St. Marys, provided her licensed therapy dog, Oakley, who is a certified “Good Canine,” free of charge. Children will read to the dog for 15 minutes.
“We’ve had people just begging to get on that list,” Parker said.
The library is working on getting a second dog for the monthly program.
“They’re just reading to the dog to help practice early literacy skills. It’s a very non-threatening, non-judgemental way to practice reading out loud,” she said.
The next Paws 2 Read program will be at 6 p.m. Oct. 28.