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Friday, October 06, 2006


Jezebel is a performer's dream. She listens. She pays attention. She never heckles, criticizes, or stomps out in disgust. OK, she might scratch, sniff, or lick her forearm, but what can you expect from a dog?

Jezebel is certified by Therapy Dogs International, and she's trained to listen quietly while kids read books out loud to her. She will offer her services to readers ages 6-12 on Wednesday, October 18 at 6 p.m. at the Herndon Fortnightly Library.

"Oftentimes, young children are reluctant to read out loud if they think they'll be criticized or corrected," explains Sarah Lyons, the branch's Children's Librarian. Therapy dogs are trained to offer a warm, non-judgmental ear to struggling readers. Research shows that regularly reading aloud helps children improve reading comprehension, which can lead to greater academic success. Therapy dogs help facilitate that process.

"Children and dogs bond over a shared story," the TDI Web site explains. "Children's confidence and reading skills grow in a relaxed environment. It's that simple."

You can sign up your child to read to Jezebel by calling 703-437-8855. If your family already has an attentive four-legged companion, you can try having your kids read to their furry friend for 10 or 15 minutes a day. Good read-aloud books include:

"Second Grade Ape" by Daniel Pinkwater.

"The Stories Julian Tells" by Ann Cameron.

"Frog and Toad Together" by Arnold Lobel.

"Ricky Ricotta's Giant Robot: An Adventure Novel" by Dav Pilkey.

"Annabel the Actress, Starring in 'Hound of the Barkervilles'" by Ellen Conford.

Find other books to read out loud in the library’s online catalog.


Ellen O'Brien said...

Do you know if there is a listserv to help libraries find therapy dogs? Our library, the Keansburg Waterfront Public Library in Keansburg, NJ is starting a reading to dogs program. We have four certified dogs already but think we will need more. Got any suggestions?

Thanks, Ellen the librarian

Anonymous said...

We are unaware of any listservs that help libraries find therapy dogs. I would recommend that you contact Therapy Dogs International directly at (email for more information about therapy dogs listed in your area.