Capital Area District Library welcomes dogs to help children read

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Kiara Carter

A couple of books that kids could read to dogs.

When you were younger did you read to your dog or cat?

Did you have trouble reading in front of others or were you afraid to mess up and have people laugh?

Well at the Capital Area District Library in Okemos, children of all ages have the opportunity to read to a therapy or service dog. This program has been around for eight years and it takes place the third Monday of every month.

When they first started the program they had just one dog but as the years have gone they grown to four or five dogs. The program has really taken off and you can see kids start to create relationships with the dogs over time said Schultz.

A young boy reading a story to ben.

Kiara Carter

A young boy reading a story to ben.

Programs like kids reading to dogs have been around for about twenty years now. It is an opportunity for kids who may struggle with reading in front of others or just have a hard time reading in general a chance to be confident and just have fun reading.

“It gives kids who may struggle with reading an opportunity to read to someone who isn’t judgmental and someone who won’t correct their grammar or pronunciation,” said Schultz. “The dogs just sit there, they don’t care how the kids read.”

Tom Schultz is a member of the staff at the library and has been working at the library for several of years. He is also the person who coordinates the event for the third Monday of the week. But he also has a therapy dog that he brings to the office sometimes as well.

Louie, the service dog reading a book.

Kiara Carter

Louie, the service dog reading a book.

“I was looking for a therapy dog program for him because he is a retired service dog and wanted to find a place where he fit in” said Am Schupska “He seems to like coming here and seeing the kids”.

Schupska is the owner of Louie, the service dog who is a member of this program and has been coming for a while now. She is a licensed veterinary technician who works with a number of therapy dogs who participate in other programs and also owns her own business.

The program is different and to have dogs into the library just a couple of times during the year is very cool. It is a program that has gone on for a couple of years and kids and their parents seem to love it said Schultz.

Capital area district library in Okemos will have readings April 17 and May 15.