On Wednesday, April 18 the Milford Public Library held its first Bark for Books program in the newly built Children’s Room in downtown Milford. Based loosely on a national program called, LEAP (Literacy Education Assisting Pups) the Milford Library is helping children that are struggling to read build their confidence levels through interacting with therapy animals. As they read their favorite books to trained dogs, children improve their literary skills and increase their enthusiasm for reading.
Therapy dog Joey and his owner Holly Melzer visited the library on Wednesday and met individually with several local children after school.
“For me, I am a huge reader and an active participant in the library,” commented Ms. Melzer. “Reading is the best way to get ahead in this world and this is a great way for Joey and I to use our talents to help young children.”
Six-year-old Jayden was one of the lucky children who had a chance to read her favorite Dr. Seuss book, Hop on Pop, to Joey. Jayda is currently attending kindergarten and beginning to read by herself and with classmates.
“We really want to make sure she starts to enjoy reading,” stated Jayden’s mother Lisa McFarlend. “She has had some trouble getting started and I thought this was a great opportunity to get her to read more.”
For Jayden and the other children involved in this program, the skill of reading will become not just easier but more fun. The inviting environment will help children feel comfortable with reading to themselves and among others while preparing them for a brighter future.
“All the kids that have read to Joey have had so much fun,” commented Ms. Melzer. “They are actually reading to the dog and very focused on what they are reading.”
The Bark for Books program will continue to grow at the Milford Public Library through the summer. The program will be held every Wednesday from 4pm-5pm. For more information or to register for the Bark for Books Program call the Milford Public library at 302-422-8996.