Do you have a child struggling to read? Do you just hate the mandatory 20 minutes of reading every single night? Well then have I got something for you! Have you heard about Reading to Rover at the Jefferson Parish Library?
A friend and I brought our first graders to the East Bank Regional Library for their Reading to Rover event in September. We heard it was fun and we wanted to take the kids to something different we hadn’t had a chance to try yet. Reading to Rover is a no-pressure way for struggling and reluctant readers to read a short book to a therapy dog. Children don’t have to worry about making mistakes, which takes the pressure off. They also get to enjoy the company of a furry friend in the process.
The dog owners are amazing as well! They help the readers with difficult words and are extremely patient with any wiggles and giggles while reading. The kids got to feed the dogs treats after the reading was over. The one on one contact with the therapy dog was wonderful.
When you arrive on the day of the event, sign in at the table near the entrance to the Children’s Section and also pick out a book to read. When the dogs are ready they will then randomly pair up readers to the available animals.Then the owners will introduce themselves and their pets to the children and find a cozy spot to read. Also, parents and siblings are always welcome to participate as well because this is a fun, family friendly event. The reader will then read their chosen book to their furry companion and also give you the opportunity to visit for a few minutes before that dog has to find his or her next reader.
After the session was over, we walked back to the table to receive a special bookmark that has the dog’s name on it. You can leave after your session is over if your child is content; however, your child can also sign up to read to another therapy dog as time allows. We managed to read to two of the dogs that participated that evening. Thus, we brought home two new bookmarks that night.
There were many different types of dogs at the library that night. Some dogs were large and others were small. Most importantly, all of the animals were very well behaved and their owners were exceptional with the readers and families.
Most libraries have activities for the children to do while they wait for another reading companion. My kids played on the Smart Table and colored pictures in between sessions. Besides that, we checked out a few books for some reading on our own. The kids had so much fun and asked when we could go back to read to the doggies again. Reading to Rover will be on my to-do list every chance we get. Reading to Rover is a fun family event Also, I’m planning on spreading the word to get more kids to attend because I’m a firm believer in learning through play and what better way to learn than playing with a pet!
Reading to Rover – When and Where
- Jefferson Parish East Bank Regional Library – usually on the 3rd Tuesday of the month from 6:30-7:30pm
- Jefferson Parish West Bank Regional Library – check calendar for dates and times
- New Orleans Rosa F. Keller Library and Community Center – 2nd Thursday of the month from 6-7pm.
Libraries all over the country participate in the Reading to Rover program. Check your local library for more information.
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