Library dogs all over Michigan are helping kids become better readers

May 5, 2017
Originally published on May 4, 2017 5:19 pm

Children reading books to dogs.

It sounds too cute to be true. But it’s a real thing. Throughout the country, libraries are turning to canines to help children who may be struggling with their reading.

The dogs are typically certified as therapy dogs through programs like the Alliance of Therapy Dogs or Therapy Dogs International. Certification requires that the dog passes a test of its friendliness, manners, and handling skills.

Really, though, the main quality of a good library dog is basic canine laziness. She should be able to chill out while kids read to her in 10-20 minute segments. If she can follow along with the story, that’s a perk.

I went down to the Ypsilanti District Library to meet my local library dog, an English Bulldog named Otis. Over the course of an hour he listened to six different kids read stories. He also dozed off 4-5 separate times (by my count), and did a lot of snorting.

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