Read to a Dog on Zoom to boost confidence in children 7 to 11 years old

Due to distancing rules, we had to temporarily say goodbye to our Reading Buddies program, usually so popular with the kids and teens that come to the library. We worked long and hard to come up with a solution, which was to reinvent the Read to a Dog program on Zoom that already made quite a few users happy this summer.

What is Read to a Dog?

It’s a 15-minute program where a child is matched with a dog trained by Caring Paws, a service from Volunteer West Island. During the alloted time, the child can read without fear of being judged while spending time with an adorable doggie who will listen to them with attention. The program has emotional and social benefits, as well as promoting reading skills. It promotes young readers’ self-esteem and gives them a sense of pride when they finish a page or a chapter without the help of an adult. Research also shows that zootherapy helps reduce stress and anxiety, a non-negligible fact in times of pandemic.

Furthermore, reading to the same dog each week means the child will develop a deep relationship with it. Who knows, maybe your child will find their new four-legged best friend!

Cosmo, a volunteer from Caring Paws

How does it work?

Register your child on Ludik for one of the 14 time slots available, according to the language in which your child is more comfortable (if your child speaks English but wants to read French books, you must register them for an English session). As with Reading Buddies, your child will keep the same schedule for the entire season. Each week, you’ll be able to log on Zoom at the time of their meeting (we’ll send you a link by email in advance) and let your child read to the dog assigned to them, while staying nearby. An employee from the children section will monitor the activity and intervene if need be. At the end of the 15-minute session, your child can say goodbye to the dog and its owner, and wait impatiently for the next meeting with their new friend.

Stella, a volunteer from Caring Paws

Schedule (from October 5th to December 18th)

  • Monday (bilingual): 3:30, 3:50 and 4:10 p.m.
  • Tuesday (English): 4 p.m.
  • Wednesday (English): 4, 4:20 and 4:40 p.m.
  • Thursday (English): 4, 4:20 and 4:40 p.m.
  • Friday (English): 3:30, 3:50, 4:10 and 4:30 p.m.

A child can only register for one time slot for the entire season.

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