Canines crave books

Sunday, June 1st 2008, 3:24 pm
By: News 9

By Christian Price, INsite Team

EDMOND, Okla. -- Story time at the Edmond Library has gone to the dogs - literally.

Since 2006 chidlren have been reading to their cannine friends as part of a program to help metro children improve their reading skills, Library Assistant Margie Collins said.

"The idea was for children that are struggling with their reading, and who might be intimidated reading to another person, to read to an animal," Collins said. "An animal is just a non-judgmental audience for them."

Rudy Valenta helped organize the program which was a new concept for the state.

"It's actually the first Children Reading to Dogs Program in Oklahoma," Valenta said. "The dogs love it. We have somewhere between 20 and 30 dogs in the program. We rotate so everyone gets a turn."

Thursday nights have become something to look forward to for Cristy Speers and her daughter.

"We do this every Thursday night. It's me and my daughter's ritual," Speers said. "We go and we eat dinner with our family and then we come up here and we read to dogs. We drive from Midwest City every Thursday."

Speers has noticed a huge improvement since she and her daughter started participating in the program.

"Her reading this year has improved tenfold because of this," Speers said. "She has a lot of confidence in front of people now. I want more libraries to do this."

Children Reading to Dogs takes place every Thursday night at the Edmond Public Library from 6 to 7:30 p.m. For more information, call the Edmond Library at (405) 341-9282.