Therapy dogs help teach kids to love reading

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Once a month the Davenport Library’s Eastern Branch gets a little loud for its “Read to a Dog” event.

They team up with the Quad Cities Canine Assistance Network (QCCAN). 

The library provides the books. QCCAN provides the therapy dogs.

“Reading to a dog is just a lot more fun that reading to your parent or your teacher,” said Heather Schlomer, one of the dog handlers. “They’ll listen to you. They don’t care if the story’s made up. They don’t care if it’s the wrong word.”

Schlomer and her dog Iris teach a special education class during the day. At night, they travel around the Quad Cities to visit people who need some extra canine affection. The library is one of their favorite stops. 

“Any time you can get kids to love reading or love doing anything academic, it’s always a great thing,” Schlomer said.

Kisha Smith brought her two- and four-year olds Monday night. 

“They are definitely very much animal oriented so when I saw that this event was happening I knew that they would want to be a part of it,” she said.

The family read five books with the dogs and Smith said her kids will be back. 

“You want them to engage and be able to cultivate a love for reading,” Smith said. “This is definitely is doing that.”

The next “Read to a Dog” even at Davenport’s Eastern Branch is on Feb. 12 at 5 p.m. QCCAN will also be at the Bettendorf Public Library on Feb. 1 at 6 p.m.

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