New Richmond library program has kids reading to therapy dogs

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The Richmond Public Library is offering an Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) program that has children reading to a trained therapy dog for 20 minutes, “a proven method for improving reading fluency and confidence,” according to City Manager Bill Lindsay’s weekly newsletter.

The All Ears Reading program, offered to students in first through fifth grades, is being run from the West Side Branch Library, 135 Washington Ave. It meets on the third Monday of each month beginning this afternoon from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

To book an appointment, contact Deborah Bonet at (510) 620-6521 or (510) 620-6567.

The use of dogs as reading companions is a growing phenomenon. A 2012 Washington Post article on the subject quotes experts as stating that dogs provide a nonjudgmental reading partner for children who are struggling with the literature. It is also an experience children look forward to, making reading fun and less frightening.

“Studies by University of California Davis in partnership with ARF and Nestle Purina Petcare Company confirm the numerous benefits of dogs as calming, non-judgmental reading partners,” according to the Animal Rescue Foundation.

AFR was created by Elaine and MLB coach Tony La Russa in 1990 as a haven for animals that run out of time in traditional animal shelters.

Photo: Animal Rescue Foundation.

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