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Massena Public Library invites youngsters to read to dogs

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MASSENA - Reading is going to the dogs starting Nov. 7 at the Massena Public Library.

Youth Services Library Assistant Kimberly Holmes said she’s scheduling blocks of time for children to come in and read to certified therapy dogs, a move that builds the youngsters’ confidence in reading.

“The child sits on a beanbag chair and the dog will listen to them read a story. It’s supposed to help with fluency in struggling readers. It’s actually proven that it helps struggling readers. The dog isn’t going to judge them if they misread a word. The dog’s just going to love them anyhow,” she said.

Brandi, a certified therapy dog will be available from 3 to 5 p.m. Wednesdays at the library.

“They’re certified therapy dogs that a woman in Canton owns. She said she will bring one in. Kids can make an appointment for 15 minutes a time,” Ms. Holmes said.

Young readers will choose their own book, and the two will sit together and share a book for the 15-minute reading block.

“The child will have their book already picked out when they come for their appointment,” she said. “The dogs love the attention and the kids love reading to the dog.”

Ms. Holmes said the program is a unique way to improve a youngster’s reading skills.

“It’s been popular in other places, too. This is an excellent way to build fluency with readers. It’s good for confidence building and fluency. I have worked with reluctant readers. I’ve seen the change it makes for the kid,” she said.

The dog visits will be held once a week on Wednesdays.

“We’ll start with 15-minute appointments for that time period. We’ll do it after school so maybe some school-age kids come in,” Ms. Holmes said.

Some appointments have already been booked, but other times are available, she said.

“I’m telling everybody that comes into the library. It’s good for the kids. The kids really like the dogs,” she said.

Registration is required, and appointments can be made at the front desk or by calling the library at 769-9914.

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