Siblings reading to their dogs - photo by theLibraryLander family
Libraries and other organizations are increasingly using therapy dogs (or just very calm, patient regular dogs) in programs to encourage children to read. Children are happy to read to dogs because of their non-judgmental and non-critical natures. Dogs often have a calm disposition which children find encouraging and allows them to readily open books and begin reading to them. A number of libraries have posted videos of children reading to dogs. Interestingly, there are even some read to cats programs, notably one sponsored by the Austin, TX ASPCA! A cat, while being calm, may not be as engaging as a dog, but still any creature willing to encourage children to read is doing a great service!