What could be better than a dog, a cozy blanket, and a good book? Nothing. Children of all ages agree.
Sting, a 10-year-old therapy greyhound dog, loves to be read to by children. He curls up with a child on a soft blanket and rests quietly as they read out loud to him. He is part of a program called Paws to Read at White Bear Library in Minnesota.
One day in February, no one signed up for a reading session with Sting. John Muellner, Sting’s dad, went to Facebook and made a post requesting more readers to visit Sting. The response was overwhelming!
The post was shared over 99,000 times, and the phone never stopped ringing at the library. Sting had to increase his bi-monthly visits to weekly to try and accommodate all the interested children. Even with the increase, Sting is booked through April.
Children’s librarian Ann Wahlstrom, tells Fox 9, “We got inundated with calls from people all over the country who wanted to visit him. People wanted us to hold a phone up to his ear so they could read to him.” She goes on to say, “I mean, it’s kids and reading and dogs.”
Paws to Read is a program to encourage children to read out loud in a judgement-free and fun environment. Studies have shown dog-gone great success with these programs helping children read better. The sessions are 20 minutes long with a recommended book chosen by the school and library. It is for children of all ages.
Andrea Powell is an animal enthusiast that resides in West Michigan. When not writing, she is exploring the great outdoors with her dogs and horses.