Therapy Dogs to Listen to Young Readers

Sit Means Sit will bring trained dogs to Good Beginnings Fairs

For children learning how to read, sounding out words and forming sentences can be intimidating. But it doesn’t have to be when a happy, furry friend is sitting along their side.

Paws for Reading participants

Families visit Sit Means Sit therapy dogs during Paws for Reading at Akron-Summit County Public Library.

This August, families visiting the Good Beginnings Fairs in Nordonia, Akron and Springfield will have the opportunity to meet therapy dogs from Sit Means Sit Cleveland-Akron, which trains more than 40 dogs each month. The dogs will greet children and sit with them as they practice reading during the fair.

Akron-Summit County Public Library (ASCPL) hosts Paws for Reading events at its main branch in downtown Akron on select Saturday mornings. These events also feature dogs from Sit Means Sit, making them some of the most popular ongoing events at ASCPL.

“The Sit Means Sit therapy dogs are always a big hit,” says Trish Saylor, manager of ASCPL’s Children’s Library. “They draw out people of all ages to visit with the dogs. Children run into our department asking if the dogs are here.”

According to Saylor, children relax and feel less stress when practicing their reading skills with a nonjudgmental dog and its handler.Paws for Reading participants

“We’ve heard stories of children raising their reading ability by a grade level after reading to the dogs on a monthly basis,” Saylor says. “Children sit down, choose a book and read with their chosen companion. The owners/handlers are also patient and may give a hint or two with unfamiliar words. Everyone feels better at the end of the session.”

Sit Means Sit therapy dogsThis is the first time therapy dogs will visit the Good Beginnings Fairs. The planning committee members, which include individuals from Summit County First Things First partner organizations, envision the therapy dogs being an excellent addition. The dogs, among activities partner organizations plan to feature during each event, will help demonstrate ways parents may stimulate positive learning experiences at home.

For more information about the Good Beginnings Fairs, visit our website.