’Paws to Read’ program a success at the Longview Library

Kids in Longview share favorite books with therapy dogs in ‘Paws to Read’ program

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - If your kids are learning to read or struggle reading in front of people, why not have them read to a dog?

A program put on by the Therapy Dogs of Gregg County visited the Longview Public Library to give kids another reason to read.

‘Paws to Read to Therapy Dogs’ allows kids to read to therapy dogs in order to work on their reading and build their confidence.

“My wife saw this on Facebook and recommended it would be fun for us to do,” said Drew Corbitt, who attended the program with his kids. “We love dogs and reading also; it seemed like a perfect fit.”

He said his kids enjoyed reading to the dogs and he enjoyed watching them read.

“They seem to really enjoy it. I especially love listening to this one read,” said Corbitt, referencing his daughter Mackenzie. “She read two books to one of the dogs.”

Adam Martin, a library assistant in charge of the event, said the dogs give the kids another positive association to reading.

“It’s a good way to get kids engaged in reading,” said Martin. “It’s an inviting environment; free of judgment, where kids can feel there’s nothing negative. Even if they can’t read yet and they pet the dog while their parent reads, that’s good, too.”

Not only is the program beneficial for the kids; it’s beneficial for the dogs, as well.

“It always benefits a dog to be loved,” said Laura Benson, one of the members of the Therapy Dogs of Gregg County organization. “It’s a wonderful thing for them to experience the unconditional children’s love.”

For Corbitt, he hopes his kids learn to love reading whether it’s to dogs, to him or by themselves.

“One of my favorite things is listening to my kids read,” said Corbitt. “I had a love for reading instilled in me when I was young and I love seeing them pick up on it, too.”

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