Story time for dogs gives kids a fun way to read out loud

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PARK RIDGE, Ill. — Forget “Reading Bingo” to motivate kids to pick up a book; local libraries are calling in the dogs!

This summer, Park Ridge Public Library hosted several “Reading to Dogs” sessions in hopes of getting kids to feel more comfortable reading out loud.

The hook worked. Every session sold out within days with kids lining up outside the door.

“It has become such a popular program,” Park Ridge Librarian Parry Rigney said. “The dogs aren’t critical of their pronunciation or even the books they choose. It automatically gives kids a positive association with reading.”

The dogs are brought in by volunteers from Rainbow Animal Assisted Therapy, and lounge peacefully at the child’s feet while they read to them.

“They just make me feel happy and relaxed,” student Nathan Looby said.

The library plans to hold several more sessions during the year to accommodate  all the kids who are now finding the joy of reading in a dog’s lap.

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