Read to Dogs

Read to Dogs will be back starting September 22, 2016

Read to Dogs is a program the library runs in cooperation with Therapy Dogs of Tenafly.  Local volunteers come in with their dogs (who are certified Therapy Dogs) and sit with children for 20 minute sessions.  The children read for 15 minutes and spend a few minutes interacting with our volunteer teams.  Parents or caregivers can register a child for Read to Dogs by contacting our Children's Department by email (latricia.markle@tenafly.bccls.org), by phone (201-568-8680), or in person at the Children's Reference Desk.  Read to Dogs runs every Thursday after school from September through May from 4:30 - 5:30 p.m.

Why Read to a Dog?

Learning to read is often less about intellectual limitation than about overcoming fears. Animals are ideal reading companions because they:

  • Help increase relaxation and lower blood pressure.
  • Listen attentively.
  • Do not laugh, judge, or criticize.
  • Allow children to proceed at their own pace.
  • Are less intimidating than peers.

When a dog is listening, the environment is transformed, a child’s dread is replaced by eager anticipation, and learning occurs. The handler is a skilled facilitator, too, shifting performance pressure off the child and providing support, while the child gets the supervised reading practice necessary to build vocabulary, increase understanding of the material, and gain fluency as a reader.  The experience isn't about being perfect, but about finding the joy in reading and sharing books.