Meet Cooper. He’s a five-year old Mini Goldendoodle and he has a very important job. At the Long Branch Library in Silver Spring, Maryland, he is a listener for young readers who are coming in to practice their reading skills and share their interests. Montgomery County has dogs that sit their quiet and patiently all while the young readers from across the state are coming in to practice their reading skills and share their favorite stories with some of the cutest furry pals in town.
The Long Branch Library has a program called The Read to a Dog Program. Basically, according to The Washington Post, here’s the program’s main mission and what they all stand for:
"“The primary purpose is to provide ‘nonjudgemental comfort’ to children so that they feel less nervous about reading out loud.” (Dianne Whittaker, manager of the Kensington Park Library Branch, Montgomery County, Maryland)"
Young readers across Montgomery County have found great comfort reading to dogs! It makes them less nervous and is great practice for them as well!
Now, meet seven-year old Harper Chandler. She picks up a book called “The United States of America: A State by State Guide”. She approaches Cooper, he wags his tail in pure and utter excitement as she does so, and she sits down right in front of him.
She looks at Cooper who greets her in the cutest little Santa hat known to man and says, “This is my favorite book.” She gets all comfy cozy and begins reading out loud to sweet little Cooper. Coops gives her his undivided attention and soaks in every fact that he’s learning now.
Each month at the Long Branch Library, Cooper has been listening to countless stories read by tons of cute little young readers across the state of Maryland. The Read to a Dog Program takes therapy dogs and pairs them with children; the dogs serve as the absolute perfect listeners to each kid, as they are the most accepting creatures on this planet.
Funny story: one time Cooper actually sat there and listened to one kid read roughly 200 pages of a Captain Underpants novel. Cooper definitely has more attention and patience than most humans (as paraphrased from Cooper’s owner, Martha Lester).
How do they choose said therapy dogs to be involved in this gorgeously cute library program?
Now, there are so many more libraries that are getting involved and participating in The Read to a Dog Program, including the following, again according to The Washington Post:
"“…including the Quince Orchard, Olney, Gaithersburg and Aspen Hill branches. The sessions — which occur weekly at some libraries — are usually booked with readers who tend to be in the elementary school grades.”"
One young reader from the Olney library branch stated that while reading to her pooch in particular, two-year old Easton, she no longer feels nervous to read out loud anymore…ever.
Back to little Miss Harper over at the Long Branch, so far and at this point, she reads to Mr. Cooper for roughly forty minutes. He’s listened to tons of different facts about Ohio, and of course, Miss Harper started with facts from her home state of Maryland, much like where Cooper himself is from.
Harper got to a part in the book about a Buckeye from Ohio. Although she mispronounced it nearly three or four times, Cooper didn’t care one lick! All he did was sit there, wagging his tail, probably trying to tell her (without speaking of course) how willing, eager, and excited he was to learn more and for her to continue on. I mean a Buckeye does involve peanut butter, so I don’t blame Cooper for all of his tail wagging excitement levels, am I right or what?!
Occasionally, Harper would take a break to feed Cooper a treat or pet his cute and adorable little head. When, at the end, she was asked (Harper) if Cooper was a good reading partner, she simply and very cutely might I add, responded with the following: “He listened!”
What do you think of this program? Do you or anyone that you know use this exzct program or even something similar to it as well? Let’s chat down below all about it and as always…Woof, Woof!