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Reading to dogs helps kids gain confidence

Therapy dog Waverly listens to Isiah reading

Therapy dog Waverly listens to Isiah reading

Dogs are more than man's best friend, they are a kid's best listener. During the past 14 years, hundreds of children have benefited from the Reading with Prairieland Dogs events at the library. Kids pick out a book and sit with a dog while they read out loud.

The dogs are non-judgmental listeners for beginning readers and build self-confidence in readers who want extra practice. These special dogs from Prairieland Visiting Animals Association (PVAA) have a calming effect on readers and can reduce a child's anxiety.

Ruben, Lee and Waverly at dog bench

Ruben, Lee & Waverly sit at the bronze sculptured bench in the Kids Library that honors these therapy dogs. Waverly was the model for this sculpture donated by Dr. Robert & Frankie Parman.

The teams of dogs and their handlers are registered with Pet Partners, Love on a Leash or Healing Heart Therapy Dogs. They don’t just come to the library to listen to children read. The teams visit health care facilities, hospitals, hospice, rehab centers, Shawnee County District Court, Shawnee County Detention Center and local schools.

Karen Simecka, the Reading Coordinator for PVAA, said the teams are ready to go and are excited about the program! She also said, “It’s a very rewarding opportunity to see a child’s eyes light up when he/she understands the words they are reading.”

child Anna and dog Cheyenne

Anna talks to Cheyenne about the book they are reading

The Reading with Prairieland Dogs will be in the Kids Library Sundays, Sept 12, 19, 26 and Oct 3, 2-3pm. Check our events calendar for more dates to be posted.

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