Molly the canine reading companion to help struggling readers through April

MEDIA RELEASE • For Immediate Release

Twitter status: Canine #reading companion helping struggling readers through April #StwOk

Samantha Williamson and molly  Molly the canine, a certified therapy dog.

(STILLWATER, OKLA. / March 18, 2013) –– Molly, a certified therapy dog, will be visiting Stillwater Public Library throughout April to help kids improve their reading and communication skills.  The program, "Paws for Reading," gives children in first through sixth grades a chance to privately read to Molly for twenty minutes a session.  "Paws for Reading" was a hit last Spring when the library invited kids to read to three volunteer therapy dogs.

"We are very fortunate to have a wonderful dog like Molly return from last year's program," said Elizabeth Murray, children's librarian.  "Many children got to meet and pet Molly at the 'Critter Tales' program in February and she is ready to get to work helping kids read."

"Paws for Reading" is part of popular therapy dog programs designed to support struggling readers.  Children who are self conscious about reading in front of peers or parents can gain confidence by reading to animals who do not correct or judge.  The relaxed and positive environment encourages the readers by making them feel confident and excited to read.

Reading sessions will be available at a variety of days and times throughout April.  Each session is for one child in order to have one on one attention with Molly. Molly will be on a leash at all times, and the handler will be with them during the session. Available days and times include:

  • Monday, April 1, 3:30 to 4:50 p.m.
  • Sunday, April 7, 2 to 3:20 p.m.
  • Wednesday, April 10, 3:30 to 4:50 p.m.
  • Thursday, April 11, 3:30 to 4:50 p.m.
  • Monday, April 22, 3:30 to 4:50 p.m.
  • Tuesday, April 23, 10:30 to 11:50 a.m.
  • Thursday, April 25, 5:30 to 6:50 p.m.
  • Sunday, April 28, 2 to 3:20 p.m.

"One reading session will not immediately improve a reluctant reader," said Murray.  "But it often is the spark needed to begin developing life long love of reading."
 
Molly, whose handler is Katherine Goodman, has been working as a therapy dog for two years and earned her certification through Therapy Dogs International.  Therapy Dogs International is a volunteer organization dedicated to regulating and testing therapy dogs and their volunteer handlers for the purpose of visiting nursing homes, hospitals, and other institutions such as the library.  More information about Therapy Dogs International and how get a dog certified can be found at www.tdi-dog.org.
 
"Paws for Reading" is a free program.  Pre-registration is required.  Parents can register children by signing up at the Help Desk, calling 405-372-3633 x106 or emailing askalibrarian@stillwater.org.  Children may bring their own books or locate one in the library before entering the storytime room. 

Parents are welcome to remain in the room during reading sessions, but Murray asks that they remain out of earshot to give the reader privacy.  She also asks parents to make alternate arrangements for the reader’s siblings.

For more information, visit the library’s website at library.stillwater.org, or follow the library on Facebook or Twitter.  Library programs are sponsored by Friends of the Library and KOSU.

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