A rather unique program being hosted in the King County Library System (KCLS) is encouraging new readers to openly read aloud to their peers, no matter how furry they might be. Reading With Rover (http://www.readingwithrover.org/) is a community based literacy program in the Puget Sound region which encourages children to read by providing them the most lovable, uncritical listener possible – a therapy dog – guided by Reading with Rover volunteers and library staff. The program is held at the library via a partnership between KCLS and Reading With Rover.
The program, which had been hosted at the Bellevue & Bothell libraries in past years, has recently been re-introduced to the library system in early 2016 and expanded to five libraries in total – Algona-Pacific, Bothell, Renton, Sammamish, and Woodinville – with plans for expansion in up to 10 libraries in the near future.
King County Library Staff involved with the program explain the goal of the program nicely:
“Children of all reading abilities love reading to a dog and dogs love to listen! A child who might be hesitant to read aloud to his peers is typically less stressed when reading to a dog and the dog never judges the child’s reading ability. By hosting the program in a library, librarians can assist in finding the just right book for children to read and become comfortable about visiting the library.”
According to KCLS, participation in the program has been strong, with attendance ranging from ten to thirty children per event. One of the limiting factors in expansion of the program is having enough trained facilitators and volunteer dogs. Those interested in volunteering themselves or their own therapy dog with Reading With Rover can find more information here.
The King County Library System has a series of upcoming Reading with Rover events throughout the library system that are free for children to participate in. Upcoming events include those below. Further events can also be found on the KCLS Event Calendar.
Algona-Pacific Library (255 Ellingson Road, Pacific WA 98047)
- Wednesday, January 18th – 6:00pm to 7:00pm
- Wednesday, February 15th – 6:00pm to 7:00pm
Bothell Library (18215 98th Avenue NE, Bothell WA 98011)
- Sunday, January 8th – 1:30pm to 2:30pm
- Sunday, February 12th – 1:30pm to 2:30pm
- Sunday,March 12th – 1:30pm to 2:30pm
Renton Library (100 Mill Avenue South, Renton WA 98057)
- Thursday, January 12th – 6:00pm to 7:00pm
- Thursday, February 9th – 6:00pm to 7:00pm
- Thursday, March 9th – 6:00pm to 7:00pm
Sammamish Library (825 228th Avenue SE, Sammamish WA 98075)
- Thursday, January 12th – 6:30pm to 7:30pm
- Thursday, February 9th – 6:30pm to 7:30pm
- Thursday, March 9th – 6:30pm to 7:30pm
Woodinville Library (17105 Avondale Road NE, Woodinville WA 98072)
- Wednesday, January 18th – 3:00pm to 4:00pm
- Wednesday, February 15th – 3:00pm to 4:00pm