Winding Oak's Bookology Magazine

Paws and Read

Cel­e­brat­ing Our Fur­ry Friends with a Pet Read­ing Pro­gram

Ani­mals are such agree­able friends — they ask no ques­tions, they pass no crit­i­cisms.”

—George Elliott

Oliver Jones

Oliv­er Jones, Mr. Z’s good friend

In Octo­ber 2011, I was in a state of tran­si­tion. I had just returned from intern­ing at the Library of Con­gress to a full-time job as head of a children’s depart­ment. I was excit­ed about this new adven­ture but, to move for­ward, I was miss­ing a fur­ry friend. One day, a patron came into the library and walked up to me and said, “I have this male kit­ty cat I need some­one to adopt. Do you know any­one who might want to adopt him?” I looked up, and it was an orange tab­by cat. I smiled and told her I would adopt him. His name is Oliv­er Jones, and he has been with me for almost eight years through many highs and lows. I reflect on this sto­ry from time to time to remind myself how impor­tant ani­mals are to the human jour­ney.

Through­out my time as a children’s librar­i­an, pro­grams that com­bine read­ing with ani­mals have been suc­cess­ful. My library’s pet read­ing pro­gram occurs one Sat­ur­day each month. A local teacher and her dog Wrigley vis­it the library and pro­vide a sto­ry­time pro­gram for 2- to 5‑year-olds. Pet read­ing pro­grams can be for any age group.

Steps in Cre­at­ing a Pet Read­ing Pro­gram:

  1. Decide on the objec­tives for a pet read­ing pro­gram at your library. Some ques­tions to ask might include: Will the ani­mal be part of a sto­ry­time pro­gram where fam­i­lies have time to inter­act with them? Should a new read-with-a-pet pro­gram be cre­at­ed where chil­dren can reg­is­ter a time to read to them?
  2. Research cer­ti­fied pet ther­a­py pro­gram web­sites for a direc­to­ry of cer­ti­fied mem­bers in your area. The ani­mals vis­it­ing the library should be a cer­ti­fied ani­mal, not your pet or a patron’s or a coworker’s. Ther­a­py Dogs Inter­na­tion­al is one resource for you to check.
  3. Reach out to local cer­ti­fied indi­vid­u­als to pro­pose the new pet read­ing pro­gram. At the ini­tial meet­ing, ask them to send a copy of their cer­ti­fi­ca­tion along with any insurance/liability infor­ma­tion. Keep this infor­ma­tion on file.
  4. Sched­ule your first pro­gram. Do you want this to be part of a morn­ing sto­ry­time or a new after-school pro­gram? I have done both types of pro­grams with great suc­cess.
  5. Iden­ti­fy the space for your pro­gram and col­lect resources spe­cif­ic to this pro­gram. Chil­dren can bring their own book to read or search the library col­lec­tion with the ani­mal.

The fol­low­ing are my top pic­ture book, chap­ter book, and non­fic­tion book sug­ges­tions. Although each of these choic­es have an ani­mal theme, a child can choose any book to read to the ani­mal.

Picture Books

 

 

 

 

 

Pic­ture Book Sug­ges­tions

  1. Drag­ons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin (inter­est lev­el: K‑3)
  2. Moth­er Bruce by Ryan T. Hig­gins (inter­est lev­el: K‑3)
  3. If You Give a Dog a Donut by Lau­ra Numeroff (inter­est lev­el: K‑3)
  4. Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae (inter­est lev­el: K‑3)
  5. There’s a Bear on My Chair by Ross Collins (inter­est lev­el: K‑3)
  6. Stel­lalu­na by Janell Can­non (inter­est lev­el: K‑3)
  7. A Uni­corn Named Sparkle by Amy Young (inter­est lev­el: K‑3)
  8. Pig the Pug by Aaron Blabey (inter­est lev­el: K‑3)
  9. The Bear Ate Your Sand­wich by Julia Sar­cone-Roach (inter­est lev­el: K‑3)
  10. Can I Be Your Dog? by Troy Cum­mings (inter­est lev­el: K‑3)

Chapter Books

 

 

 

 

 

Chap­ter Book Sug­ges­tions

  1. Mag­ic Ani­mal Res­cue (series) by E.D. Bak­er (inter­est lev­el: 2 – 3 grade)
  2. The Chick­en Squad (series) by Doreen Cronin (inter­est lev­el: 2 – 3 grade)
  3. Ranger in Time (series) by Kate Mess­ner (inter­est lev­el: 2 – 5 grade)
  4. Almost Home by John Bauer (inter­est lev­el: 4 – 6 grade)
  5. A Dog’s Life by Ann M. Mar­tin (inter­est lev­el: 4 – 6 grade)
  6. Cap­tain Pug (series) by Lau­ra James (inter­est lev­el 1 – 4 grade)
  7. Mr. Popper’s Pen­guins by Richard Atwa­ter (inter­est lev­el: 3 – 6 grade)
  8. Stu­art Lit­tle by E.B. White (inter­est lev­el: 3 – 6 grade)
  9. Dog Man and Cat Kid by Dav Pilkey (inter­est lev­el: 2 – 5 grade)
  10. Drag­on Mas­ters by Tracey West (inter­est lev­el 2 – 4 grade)

 

 

 

 

 

Non­fic­tion Book Sug­ges­tions

  1. The King of Sting by Coy­ote Peter­son (inter­est lev­el: 2 – 6 grade)
  2. Nation­al Geo­graph­ic Read­ers: Woof! 100 Fun Facts About Dogs (inter­est lev­el: 1 – 4 grade)
  3. I Sur­vived True Sto­ries (series) by Lau­ren Tarshils (inter­est lev­el: 2 – 5 grade)
  4. Ani­mals that Make Me Say (series) by Dawn Cusick (inter­est lev­el: 2 – 5 grade)
  5. Dog Days of His­to­ry: The Incred­i­ble True Sto­ry of Our Best Friends by Sarah Albee (inter­est lev­el: 2 – 4 grade)
  6. The Bravest Dog Ever: The True Sto­ry of Bal­to by Natal­ie Stan­di­ford and Don­ald Cook (inter­est lev­el 2 – 4 grade)
  7. Oh, the Pets You can Get: All About our Ani­mal Friends by Tish Rabe (inter­est lev­el 2 – 4 grade)
  8. 50 Wacky Things Pets Do (series) by Hei­di Fiedler and Mar­ta Sorte (inter­est lev­el: 2 – 5 grade)
  9. Gross Me Out (ani­mal series) by Jody Sul­li­van Rake (inter­est lev­el: 2 – 5 grade)
  10. Nation­al Geo­graph­ic Kids 125 True Sto­ries of Amaz­ing Ani­mals by Nation­al Geo­graph­ic Kids (inter­est lev­el 2 – 5 grade)

Tam­pa Bay Humane Soci­ety Pet Read­ing Pro­gram

Here’s a video about a suc­cess­ful pet read­ing pro­gram at the Humane Soci­ety of Tam­pa Bay. This video adds that these pro­grams are not only essen­tial to help a child with their read­ing, but they also help chil­dren build their self-esteem in a non-judg­men­tal envi­ron­ment.

Read to a Dog Pro­gram at Pima Coun­ty Pub­lic Library

Enjoy watch­ing this video about a suc­cess­ful dog read­ing pro­gram at Pima Coun­ty Pub­lic Library. This video stress­es the impor­tance that this pro­gram helps to boost a child’s con­fi­dence. 

No comments yet.

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.