Dog Reading Party

Reading will go to the dogs on November 3 at Beehive Books, when specially trained dogs will be paired with children ages 6 to 12 to share a story and practice reading skills. The event is free and will be held at the bookstore, located at 25 N. Sandusky St. in Delaware.

The dog-friendly program, which will run from 4 p.m.-5:30 p.m, will feature Woofie, Stella, Aston and Fergie, another canine pal, along with their owners. The pets and owners have been trained by Acme Canine of Lewis Center, which is presenting the program.

Laura Pakis, owner of Acme Canine, said, “We’ve held reading sessions at a number of libraries in Columbus this summer, and it’s been a huge hit. Children love spending time with attentive, furry friends who won’t judge them if they stumble over a word or don’t understand a passage. Reading improves as the child relaxes, and the adults are there to help with pronunciation and comprehension.”

Mel Corroto, owner of Beehive Books, said, “As a dog lover myself, I think this is a wonderful way to help children read.  There’s no better way than curled up with a book and a friendly canine at our store. We hope to get kids excited about reading.”

Pakis wanted to create a reading therapy program after learning that a former employee’s son improved his reading skills while working with a therapy dog in a Columbus school. Intrigued, she did some research and modeled her program after one developed by Intermountain Therapy Animals of Salt Lake City. She now has 12 reading dogs in her program.

Pakis offers a six-week class that teaches dogs to sit politely, hold a book page with their paws and react gently with children. Owners learn how to help kids with reading skills. She charges for the classes, but there also are openings for volunteers who already have a trained therapy dog.  She offers the program at no charge to libraries and bookstores.

Each child who attends the event at Beehive Books will spend about 10-15 minutes reading with a canine pal. To reserve a spot for a child or for information, call Beehive Books at 740-363-2337. To learn more about the dog reading program, call Acme Canine at 740-548-1717 or visit www.acmecanine.com.