JCLS Introduces “Paws To Read” K9 Reading Buddies Programs

Therapy dogs provide quiet encouragement for budding readers to explore reading aloud.

Medford, Oregon (February 7, 2020)—Beginning in March, Children in grades K-3 are invited to practice the skill of reading aloud with a trained and registered therapy dog through Jackson County Library Services (JCLS) new “Paws to Read” program. “Paws to Read” will take place on Wednesdays from 2:00–3:00 p.m. at the Jacksonville Library, 340 West “C” Street, and on the second Monday of each month from 3:00–4:00 p.m. at the Rogue River Library, 412 East Main Street.

JCLS offers “Paws to Read” through a partnership with K9 Reading Buddies, a local organization that aims to improve children’s literacy skills and lead them to enjoy reading. Registered therapy dogs and their handlers provide a non-intimidating environment for budding readers to explore reading aloud. K9 Reading Buddies has operated successful programs at the Grants Pass Library and local elementary schools since 2009. The partnership with Jackson County Library Services expands the program into Jackson County.

“The program has been a fabulous success,” said Iris Hurwitz, a founding member of K9 Reading Buddies. “Little miracles happen. The children are soothed by the dogs, and the dogs are so affectionate. It’s important to help children read without criticism, and this program helps them develop more confidence in their abilities.”

JCLS Youth Services Coordinator Brystan Strong agrees.

“A dog will listen to a child read aloud without judgment or comment,” said Strong. “Once a child starts building confidence in reading aloud, that confidence often spills over to confidence in social interaction and public speaking. All of these things build on each other to create a pathway to academic achievement.”

To learn more about Paws to Read, contact the Jacksonville Library at 541-899-1665 or the Rogue River Library at 541-864-8850.

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