Reading to the Therapy Dog

Last year, the library welcomed a friendly and furry face for a program that dedicated a time and space for students to practice their reading skills. Our “Reading to Man’s Best Friend” program ensured children a safe space to practice reading but also associate reading with a positive environment.

The first therapy dog who helped us with this program was “Nugget,” a sincerely loving golden retriever who made any person – whether they were child, guardian, patron, or employee – feel special and joyful. After many months of visiting Rostraver Library, Nugget sadly passed away. We will always remember his service to the library.

Nugget helped many children feel safe and special while they practiced reading.

The program provided such joy and comfort to the library that we decided to carry on Nugget’s legacy by asking another therapy dog to help us out. Starting two weeks ago on Tuesday, September 17, Ciel the Therapy Dog and his owner, Linda, began visiting from 4:00-5:00pm. Ciel has already become best buds with patrons and staff at the library. He uplifts us every Tuesday with his playfulness and wagging tail!

You may reserve a 5 minute time slot for your child to read to Ciel. Right now, there is plenty of space open, so your child may have extra time with Ciel (unless all of the spots fill up). During the time slot, the child is invited to sit down with Ciel and explore a book. They can either bring a book from home or pick one of our many books (we have all reading levels!).

While they practice reading the book, children often stop to pet or hug the dog. This interaction is so important because a pause in their reading flow is met with a positive, happy response instead of the pressure or correction they might experience in other settings. This is why we always say that the dogs are extremely patient listeners. They enjoy the quiet moments in between words or sentences because they are in no rush and have no expectations.

Ciel is continuing the mission of making reading a comforting and happy experience.

While your child reads, Ciel will listen eagerly and be available for any comfort that the child needs during this sometimes stressful activity. Children can then carry this peaceful experience with them after they leave the library. When they feel anxious or upset about reading challenges, they can remember Ciel’s calm and welcoming presence. Pairing such a positive experience with reading is directly in line with our mission to help the community learn, connect, and grow. We are extremely grateful to Ciel and Linda for their willingness to make this program possible. Because of them, we are able to help children find comfort, excitement, and joy in reading.

Please call 724-379-5511 to reserve a time slot. Ciel wants to make many more friends!

 

If you would like to see this level of programming continue, please make a donation to Rostraver Public Library. You can donate directly by clicking this link.

Thank you for your support.

 

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