Paws for Reading with our Tail Wagging Tutors is a program sponsored by the Mason Public Library. It is the library and Therapy Dogs International’s version of a national program which is called “Paws to Read.” The initial premise of the program was to provide a non-judgemental listener for students who struggle with reading but we find that even fluent readers enjoy reading to the dogs. (We are also fortunate to have some Delta Dogs as well.)
Learning to read can be stressful but dogs do not mind if a reader stumbles over a word or pronounces it incorrectly. We are not striving for perfection but comfort with the act of reading itself. If a child is struggling with a word, the dog trainer will simply tell him/her what the word is but they will make no effort to teach the child reading strategies. To further free the child from stress of performing, usually only the child goes into the reading room with the dogs and trainers. There will be a minimum of two dogs and two trainers in the room. At this time we are able to provide 5 or 6 each time. The child earns a photo sticker of each dog he reads to, spending about 5 minutes with each.