NCompass Live: Paws to Read at Kearney Public Library


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NCompass Live - April 9, 2014.

Once a month our library goes to the dogs all in the name of literacy. Paws to Read is a cooperative reading program between Kearney Public Library and local therapy dogs. This program helps children improve their literacy skills with the assistance of certified pet therapy dogs in a fun, non-judgmental and relaxed environment. Children involved in Paws programs nationwide have shown improved reading skills, a sense of pride in their accomplishments, a willingness to become involved in other positive activities, and have learned respect and kindness in their interactions with animals. Presenters will share their experiences with this great project.

Presenters: Christine Walsh, Kearney Public Library; Kimberly Williams, Therapy Dogs, Inc., Kearney, NE.

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NCompass Live: Paws to Read at Kearney Public Library

  1. 1. Presented by Kim Williams and Christine Walsh
  2. 2. Kim Williams & Penny • TDInc. member since 2006 • Tester/Observer since 2008 • TDInc. Board member since 2012 Penny • Pembroke Welsh Corgi • 10 years old • Pet therapy for 8 years • Currently mentoring new puppy at home
  3. 3. Teddy with Christine and Sarah Walsh • Sarah, Christine and Teddy TDInc. Members since 2010 • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel • Pet therapy for 3 years • 5 years old • Currently on remote assignment at the University of Missouri-Columbia
  4. 4. Reading Skills • Reading to dogs gives children essential extra practice with reading and oral skills. • Some children feel that reading becomes less difficult when reading to a dog and are more willing to read aloud at school. • Reading to dogs has motivated some children to start reading more at home, especially to their pets. • Children want to try reading more difficult books as they go through the reading to dogs program. • Research studies have shown that reading fluency can increase after participating in a reading to dogs program.
  5. 5. Emotional benefits  Children enjoy the program and think it's fun! They look forward to coming to the library because a dog is waiting for them.  Children feel comfortable reading to dogs because dogs don't judge if a word is mispronounced.  The process of petting dogs can help with motor skills and is also known to be a calming factor that can reduce stress, blood pressure, and anxiety.  Some children feel nervous when reading aloud and reading with a dog immediately calms them down.  Reading to dogs boosts the confidence levels of struggling readers and gives children an increased sense of pride.
  6. 6. Social Benefits  Children learn to take turns while waiting for their chance to read to the dog.  Children can learn kindness and empathy by petting the dogs, cuddling with them, and bringing them treats.  Communication skills can be improved by practicing reading aloud.  Participants enjoy talking with each other and sharing books they have read.  Children learn how to interact safely and respectfully with animals.
  7. 7. Mission: It is a goal of Therapy Dogs Inc. to provide registration, support, and insurance for members who are involved in volunteer animal assisted activities. These activities include, but are not limited to, visits to hospitals, special needs centers, schools, and nursing homes. Our objective is to form a network of caring individuals who are willing to share their special animals in order to bring happiness and cheer to people, young and old alike.
  8. 8. TDInc.  History  Goals  Registered dogs  Volunteers  Liability
  9. 9. Attributes: Handler & Dog  What Makes a Good Handler  People who demonstrate good social skills, who can smile and relax and relate comfortably with their animal companions and other people.  Listens well  Follows Instructions  Knows their animal~ personality and needs.  Truly enjoys conversations with strangers, extending yourself in often difficult moments  Comfortable with the often-unpleasant situations surrounding various therapies.  Empathetic  What Makes a Good Dog  Animals demonstrate behavior that is reliable and controllable.  Animals enjoy being petted, hugged and touched.  Animals are outgoing, friendly and confident in various surrounding.  Animals are people-oriented.  Handler and Animals enjoy being with each other and are excited for visits.
  10. 10. How it works at Kearney Public Library  Supports the Library Mission Statement  The Kearney Public Library exists to provide equal access to information and to promote the enjoyment of reading, culture, and the pursuit of lifelong learning.  Partnership  TDInc. or Pet Partners – registered therapy teams  Good Samaritan Hospital Volunteer Services  Funding  Summer Reading
  11. 11. Program components  Bookmarks  Baskets  Bingo cards  Books  Frequent reader rewards  Staffing & volunteers  Refocusing
  12. 12. Paws around town  Hospital visits  Cancer Center  Schools  Care homes  Grief camp for youth  Memory Walk  Bark for Life
  13. 13. Paws for the Future
  14. 14. Contact information:  Kim Williams  TDInc. Tester/Observer   Christine Walsh  Assistant Director – Kearney Public Library   Shawna Lindner  Youth Services Librarian – Kearney Public Library   Therapy Dogs Incorporated 