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'Paws and Tales' Returns to Tuckahoe Library

TUCKAHOE, N.Y. – The Tuckahoe Public Library is bringing back its “Paws and Tales” program, where children can practice their reading skills with the help of a furry friend.

Children ages 5 through 10 take their favorite book - or one out of a collection compiled by youth service librarian Ellen Tannenbaum - into the project room with their parents.

Once in the project room, the families, which may include siblings, read to the friendly therapy dogs, which are certified and registered through the Good Dog Foundation.

“The dogs have a great temperament, they just lie and listen to the kids. They’re well-behaved and well-trained,” Tannenbaum said. “It’s great for kids learning to read, and for kids who might have a slight dog phobia. Everyone loves the dogs, even the teens and adults in the library want to play with them.”

The families typically get between 10 and 15 minute of time alone with one of the two dogs. The dogs offer an impartial reading companion, that won’t affect the young readers’ psyche.

“The dog is more comfortable [to read to], they’re non-judgmental partners to read to,” Tannenbaum said. “When you look into a dog’s eyes, they won’t know if you mispronounced a word, but you still get the feedback of someone listening.”

The program gets a variety of readers of all ages and abilities. Some of the children read books to the dog that they’ve memorized, while others find it more beneficial to take on a new challenge and sound out the pronunciations of words.

“It’s a neat opportunity for kids, they don’t have to be shy about the dogs,” Tannenbaum said. “They can be as involved with the dog as they want to. Some kids just want to practice their reading while others just want to huge [the dogs.]”

The Good Dog Foundation will provide a variety of dogs to the library, since fan-favorite Clyde, a golden retriever, doesn’t work during the summers. The monthly program returns at 4 p.m. on Tuesday at the Tuckahoe Public Library. Register by calling (914) 961-2121.

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