Ellie, Ras, Tootse , Skye and numerous other certified therapy dogs, along with Glory the Parrot, a certified therapy bird, happily listened to children in kindergarten to sixth grade practice their reading skills on Thursday evening at the “Read to a Dog” workshop at the Valencia Library.
Every third Thursday of the month the Valencia library hosts its “Read to a Dog” event where young children can practice their reading skills in a judgmental-free zone with certified therapy dogs and their owners. The children also have the chance to give the animals pets and cuddles.
“Read to a Dog” is a well-loved program that has been reoccurring for several years, said Mirissa Dunne, a Valencia Library assistant. Her favorite part about the whole experience is “seeing the joy out of the children at the library for years.”
“Green Eggs and Ham” by Dr. Seuss, “Who am I” by Jeffrey Turner, and other classic children’s books were available for the participants to read to any therapy dog available.
The workshop’s purpose is to encourage children who may be shy to feel compelled and safe enough to read to a furry friend.
“To see a kid who may be scared to read and then because there’s a dog and they don’t have to read to a person … they literally start to read and lose their fear,” said Jill Cullens a therapy dog owner and volunteer.
Participants read up to three books to different furry friends throughout the hourlong session. They were also given the chance to hold and be kissed by Glory the Parrot, a small green-cheeked Conure who enjoys children with her owner Charles Davis.
The children practiced their pronunciation and vowels, and when they stumbled on a challenging word they would ask for help from the volunteers with smiles on their faces as they simultaneously pet the animals.
“I just love being with the kids and being able to share a little bit about Glory and what she’s all about,” said Davis. “And seeing the responses to this.”
All therapy animals at the library on Thursday visit schools and hospitals to serve those who need extra support.
Several therapy animal owners said that they loved going to the “Read to a Dog” workshop hosted by the library because it’s a great way to have the children practice their reading and a joy to witness.
The “Read to a Dog” workshop also takes place at the Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library and the Old Town Newhall Library. All three branches have different scheduled days and times.
For more information about “Read to a Dog,” other scheduled programming, and which location the events will take place in, visit https://santaclarita.librarycalendar.com/events/month.