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Read to a dogHarper, a reading education assistance dog, and Ashley Folsom, his handler, were making reading fun for kids at a West Wyandotte Library program on May 18. (Staff photo)
Read to a dog
Harper, a reading education assistance dog, sniffed the shoes of visitors to the “Read to a Dog” program on Saturday, May 18, at the West Wyandotte Library, 1737 N. 82nd.
Harper, a mixed breed dog, likes to smell shoes, especially if the child has another dog at home, explained his handler, Ashley Folsom.
“He loves kids,” Folsom said. “That’s why we do the reading program.”
The Kansas City, Kan., Public Libraries have sponsored a “Read to a Dog” program several times this year in order to encourage children’s reading and literacy skills. The dogs are furnished through the Pets for Life program, which provides therapy dogs to reading programs, as well as dogs that visit hospitals and nursing homes. Children read a story book while sitting next to the dog during these programs.
Folsom said all therapy dogs from Pets for Life receive special training and are certified through the organization. They are put through special tests, she said.
On Saturday, a girl read a story about a duck to Harper. Most of the time, Harper was very well behaved, and every once in a while he yawned or tried to stand up. Folsom then held out some treats for Harper, who sat down first before enjoying them.
After reading to the dog, the girl petted Harper, gave him some treats, and received a dog sticker and a Harper bookmark.
Children tend to feel more at ease while reading to a dog, and this program can make the reading experience fun, according to Folsom.