Reading with Paws returning to Standish in March


STANDISH — In honor of March is Reading Month, the Friends of the Mary Johnston Memorial Library are welcoming back a reading buddy for children around the county, as each Wednesday the library will hold “Reading with Paws.”

Elon Basgall, a library worker, said the MJML has held Reading with Paws the last four years in March. It includes a therapy dog, Buddy, who lies on the floor with children, giving them a cuddly companion while they read.

“We have a lady that comes who has a certified therapy dog, and the children seem to feel more comfortable trying to read, and if they struggle, they don’t have as much embarrassment or trouble with it,” Basgall said.

“When children read with an animal, there’s no judgment, so it just kind of encourages the children to read,” said Iosco-Arenac District Library Director Stephanie Olson. “They have a little dog that lies by them while they read.”

Basgall said some of the children who come to the library to read with Buddy have difficulty reading and sometimes seem to have lost confidence, but they feel at ease when they are reading and petting Buddy.

During the weekly event, Basgall said Buddy will lie on a blanket, and the children who attend will form a semicircle around him and take turns reading.

“Each gets a turn to read to the dog, and as each one gets a turn to read, depending on the length of time, the kids keep having turns to read,” she said. “If one of the children wants to pass or whatever, they can. But it is just kind of encouraging them to be better readers.”

Basgall said there is no limit to the number of children who can participate, but usually about 12 children read to Buddy per week.

Reading with Paws will be held each Wednesday in March from 4:30-5:30 p.m. Basgall said children can bring a book from home or find one at the library to read with Buddy.

For more information, contact the library at 989-846-6611.


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