One of the neat things about working in a library now is that you get on email lists and find out about some really cool things. Today I found out about R.E.A.D., Reading Education Assistance Dogs. READ dogs are trained therapy dogs. They and their handlers go to schools and libraries and help children who have difficulty reading become better readers.

A child gets to spend about 20 minutes with the dog reading aloud to it. It is a fun, comforting, nonjudgmental, and no pressure experience for kids. They get to have contact with the dog and the dog lays beside them quietly while they read to it. The program has been hugely successful not only because kids like dogs but also because for many of them, their reading skills improve, sometimes dramatically.

The program is offered in my public library system where they call it “Paws to Read.” It has even caught on in Canada where they call it “See Spot Read.”

Isn’t it marvelous? Makes me wish my dog weren’t old, deaf and excitable so I could train him to be a therapy dog and get involved in the program. How fun would that be? I wonder if they need any therapy reading cats?