On Thursday, March 7 the Milford Public Library in downtown Milford continued its Bark for Books program in the Children’s Room. 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 animal Reeses, a six-year-old rescue animal, and her owner Lauren Lahr began helping kids to read at the Milford Library last May after learning about the program through Haven Lake Animal Hospital in Milford. Looking to involve Reeses in work where she could help others, Lahr is happy to be able to provide a service that Reeses loves and that benefits local children.
“Reeses loves it, she loves getting the attention and is very good with the kids,” commented Lahr. “She helps to relax the kids as they read. They understand there is no one here to judge them and they really read to the dog.”
Jennifer Chowdhry, mother of three, has been a part of the Barks for Books program for the last eight months and states that all three of her children have improved in their ability to read and interact with others. Even Chowdry’s “nonreader” in the family found confidence while spending time with Reeses.
“At first our nonreader would sit next to the dog and make up her own stories,” commented Chowdhry. “She then began to open books and sound out words and now she is reading.”
For the Chowdhry family and the other children involved in this program, the skill of reading will become not just easier but more fun. The inviting environment helps children feel comfortable with reading to themselves and among others while preparing them for a brighter future. The interaction with Reeses has allowed the Chowdhry children to increase their literary and social skills in and out of the classroom.
“This program is helping my children not just with reading but also with their personalities,” commented Chowdhry. “They have grown socially, learning how to interact better with other people.”
The Bark for Books program continues to grow at the Milford Public Library as it is offered every Wednesday and Thursday from 5 to 6pm. For more information or to register for the Bark for Books Program families can call the Milford Public library at 302-422-8996.