Paws for Reading celebrates two years
By Airman 1st Class Nicole Leidholm, 60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
/ Published January 19, 2012
TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The Mitchell Memorial Library is celebrating the two-year anniversary of Paws for Reading, it is a unique program that helps children learn to read.
Paws for Reading, based off the Paws for Healing program at David Grant USAF Medical Center, helps children gain confidence in their reading by reading with buddies who listen to them read without judgment. What's unique is the reading buddy is a canine.
They don't correct them, they just listen.
"The children are not worried to make mistakes, said Delilah Wilson, senior technician Mitchell Memorial Library. "They just keep on reading."
Paws for Reading is a community wide program in Solano, Sonoma, Napa and other surrounding counties. Volunteers come with their pet and let children read to them at libraries, youth centers and elementary schools.
Wilson said they've helped more than 200 children build the confidence to read. The library has four PFR teams. They spend every Thursday at the library from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The program is on a walk-in basis. Everyone who signs up will be able to read to the dog.
"If we go over our hour, we keep on going," Wilson said. "We don't want to disappoint the kids."
The program doesn't turn away any child. Children under reading age can come in and spend time with the dog. Those who are at a reading level can also sign up for a frequent reader card. Each time the child comes in for the PFR program they get a star on their card. After nine stars they receive a free book.
"It's a great incentive to have the children come back every week," Wilson said.
Stephania and her sister Samantha Guyett have been attending the PFR for the past year.
"I like it a lot," Stephania said.
"I like reading to all the cute doggies," Samantha said.
The PFR program is looking for more volunteers to expand the program. To become a volunteer, individuals must attend the Paws for Healing seminar for two Saturdays. On the second Saturday, the volunteers bring their dogs to see how well they react to certain situations. Most importantly the dog must love kids. After the seminar, the volunteer and their canine companion can try out what they learned and help kids become comfortable with reading.
For more information on the PFR program or to volunteer, visit the Paws for Healing website at www.pawsforhealing.org or contact Delilah Wilson at 424-3444.