Sunday, February 17, 2008

Tales for Tails

The Friends of the Norfolk Public Library hold a great program for struggling readers called "Tales for Tails". Therapy dogs sit quietly and listen, non-judgementally, to young children read.

I was very excited when I heard about the program, not because Ben and Shira are struggling readers, but because Shira is totally terrified of dogs. A rambunctious lab puppy knocked her over when she was 2 years old and ever since then her fear of dogs has increased. It had become so bad that she became paralyzed with fear if a dog even walked past on the opposite side of the road.

I thought the therapy dogs at the library might be a great way to help her. We spoke about how the dogs are specially trained to never jump on children and how they are special "doctor" dogs. We read all about therapy dogs and spoke about them ad nauseum.

Shira finally agreed to go to the 'Tales for Tail's" program at the library. The poor child was terrified, but adamant that she was going through with it. Initially she and I sat on the floor, well away from the dogs and she watched other children read. We spoke about how quiet and calm the dogs were. Then we moved into the circle of children and waited for a while. Finally Shira decided to read to the dogs.

She even petted the dogs. She is not completely over her fears yet, but reading to the therapy dogs has made a huge dent in her phobia. We plan on going to the "Tales for Tails" every month until Shira is over her phobia.

Ben read to the dogs for good measure.


Lostcheerio said...

My dear, they are not struggling readers!!!! Hehehe. They are struggling with reading like I am struggling with eating carbs. That is... I am not having any problem eating buckets and buckets of carbs. And they're reading like "a house on fire" as my mother used to say. :)

Shez said...

LOL, that's true. We are very proud of how well they read. Right now Shira is reading Peter Pan and Ben of course is reading Treasure Island. Shira read two chapters of Peter Pan out loud today. It was amazing to hear how well she read and how animated her reading was.

those therapy dogs were very useful for the dog phobia though. We're going to sneak in every month. We spoke to the Librarian and she's happy for us to come, even though the kids don't need it.