A new relationship with animals, nature and each other.

Reading to Dogs

Young people gain confidence and practice at a Holiday library program

Reading to dogs is a great way to build skills and gain confidence. Photo by Therapy Dogs International.

Reading aloud to other people can be stressful – even traumatic. It takes confidence as much as it does other skills.
And what better way to gain confidence and hone those skills than by reading to a furry friend who isn’t grading you and simply loves to have your attention and listen to you reading them a story?

Children have been reading to therapy dogs every Tuesday at two Cleveland Public Library branches.

“It’s phenomenal to see children excited about reading,” says Barbara Nalette, director of volunteer services at UH. Children open up, relax and improve,” she said. “I’ve seen children who stutter greatly improve.”

In the program, each child chooses a book, along with a dog from among the group of 77 therapy dogs who regularly visit patients, young and old, at the city’s University Hospital, and then spends 20 minutes reading to one of them.

“It’s fun to watch them deciding which book their dog will like,” Nalette said. “Clifford, the big red dog, is popular.”

The child sits on a blanket with the dog and the dog’s guardian, who remains quiet, unless a child asks for help to pronounce a word.

To find out how your dog could become a therapy dog, go to Therapy Dog International.

Neon and Lance are part of the reading program at the Cleveland Library. Photo by University Hospital.