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MTD therapy teams participate monthly in reading programs at other libraries and school programs, as well as provide comfort for those in need.
The Elkins-Randolph County Public Library will begin hosting the Mountaineer Therapy Dogs in order to provide an accepting atmosphere for children to practice their reading skills by reading out loud to dogs. The service is being unveiled as part of the library’s Dog Days at the Library promotion for the month of August.
The new program will be called F.I.D.O., which stands for Fun Interacting with Dogs Outloud, and will help new and struggling young readers to overcome difficulties. Individual sessions will be set up for one-on-one practice. The dogs are trained to be attentive listeners, creating a non-judgmental and comfortable environment for our area readers.
“This is becoming one of our favorite projects,” said Interim Library Director Stephanie Murphy. “The excitement on the faces of both children and adults alike when they first imagine reading to a warm soft, affectionate doggie is contagious! We are anxious to have the opportunity to both comfort and assist young readers as they develop their language skills.”
Reading and communication are critical skills with which many children struggle for a multitude of reasons, from medical conditions to self-esteem issues. For children dealing with these problems, reading aloud can be a daunting and stressful task. Their concerns can impede their learning of skills which they already perceive as difficult. Enter Mountaineer Therapy Dogs.
A therapy dog is a calm, supportive, and non-judgmental friend. Children light up when they meet one, and they delight in reading a story with them. The stresses a child feels in other situations are not an issue; they relax and enjoy reading a story with their canine buddy. At the end of a reading session the child leaves with a sense of accomplishment and a self-confidence boost that carries over to other aspects of their lives.
Fun Interacting with Dogs Outloud
Mountaineer Therapy Dogs is a member of the West Virginia Leaders of Literacy and a participant in The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.
About Mountaineer Therapy Dogs
Elkins-Randolph County Public Library
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