Therapy dogs help struggling readers at the public library

WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) -- If you love dogs and practicing your reading, the library might be the perfect place for you this summer. Every Tuesday and Thursday both the Rothschild and Wausau public libraries will be bringing in some furry friends to help struggling readers.

PAWS to Read is back for the summer season with both libraries teaming up with the Therapy Dogs of Central Wisconsin once again to provide a safe space for new readers. Here children of all ages are welcome to come and sit with a calm and well-trained therapy dog to read aloud to while school is out.

This event has been at the library the last couple of years and has proven to build confidence in new readers who may be nervous to read aloud in front of adults and peers. Dan Richter with the Wausau public library said because every child learns at a different pace, some kids can struggle with assurance when reading to other people.

"The dog element is pretty important because-- whereas if you read to maybe a sibling or somebody else you might be apprehensive if you stumble or mess us on a word or you don't know how to pronounce a word, you might be fearful that they are going to judge you or correct you. But, a dog isn't going to do that. It’s just going to lay there and listen to you in a really supportive way that you can practice your reading and not be afraid of judgment or messing up,” Richter explained.

Richter hopes that this program will encourage discouraged readers to give it another shot, and continue practicing.

"Everyone learns at a different level so reading is one of those things too that some kids pick it up fairly quickly, and some kids maybe struggle with it a little bit. The therapy dogs are good way to practice your skills,” Richter said.

PAWS to Read kicked off Tuesday night in Rothschild and will be happening again this afternoon at the marathon county public library in Wausau. It will take place in the Aquarium Room from 1:00 – 2:30. The dogs will be back in Rothschild from 6:00 to 8:00 and in Wausau from 1:00 to 2:30 every Tuesday and Thursday through June and July.

PAWS to Read is part of the library’s free summer program and doesn’t require any type of registration. Richter said that the reading you do to the dogs can count towards the libraries summer reading goals program.