Published DateALTON — The Gilman Library in Alton will be bringing back its children's reading dog program this June.
The free program pairs children with mellow, friendly dogs in a safe, one-on-one setting. The children read out loud to their canine partners from books they choose themselves, without any judgment or pressure to succeed. Programs like these have been shown to raise confidence, improve reading skills and increase a child's enjoyment of the reading process.
The first dog to participate will be "Ginnie," a very sweet and relaxed lab mix. Ginnie has been certified as a therapy dog by Therapy Dogs International (TDI). Her handler is a professional writer and former English and social studies teacher who has worked with children at all grade levels. A second dog is expected to join the team sometime this summer.
The program will start with sessions every Tuesday afternoon from 2-4 p.m., one child per session. Each meeting lasts a half-hour, so there are currently four openings available. The young readers are urged to come weekly for at least a month, with the option of continuing after that for as long as they like. Children of all ages are welcome.