Read­ing with Rosie

Summerside Ro­tary Li­brary’s sum­mer pro­gram helps im­prove chil­dren’s lit­er­acy skills

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY ANCELENE MACKIN­NON

Summerside Ro­tary Li­brary’s sum­mer pro­gram helps im­prove chil­dren’s lit­er­acy skills.

Rosie’s a good lis­tener. That’s why her sum­mer job is help­ing chil­dren with their read­ing skills.

Rosie is a corgi mix and a reg­is­tered ther­apy dog.

This is the sec­ond year for the Summerside Ro­tary Li­brary’s Read­ing with Rosie pro­gram, which helps young read­ers be­come more con­fi­dent with lit­er­acy and read­ing aloud.

Her owner, Devon Conover, said boys and girls en­joy the op­por­tu­nity to pet Rosie and read sto­ries to her.

“It’s fun and in­ter­ac­tive. It’s not stress­ful for them to read to a dog, be­cause a dog is a non­judg­men­tal lis­tener.”

Conover is re­tired and has been pro­fes­sion­ally in­volved in chil­dren’s ser­vices for many years.

“I’ve been a pet part­ner with ther­apy dogs since 2009. This seemed like a nat­u­ral way to in­clude my love for an­i­mals with my in­ter­est in help­ing kids be bet­ter read­ers.”

Conover lives in Con­necti­cut and spends the sum­mer months on the Is­land.

She said Rosie is a res­cue dog from Alabama and has been do­ing an­i­mal-as­sisted ac­tiv­i­ties with Pet Part­ners since 2011.

Chil­dren are some­times sur­prised to see a dog in the li­brary, but Conover ex­plains why Rosie’s there, and also about safety around an­i­mals.

“It’s one of our ways to give back to the com­mu­nity. Any­thing we can do to make read­ing more en­joy­able for kids, we’re happy to do it.”

Re­search shows pet­ting ther­apy dogs can lower blood pres­sure, so be­sides chil­dren, Rosie vis­its with se­niors, added Conover.

She said par­ents are de­lighted to have their chil­dren read to the friendly corgi.

“Read­ing opens up the doors for chil­dren to so many ex­pe­ri­ences they might not be able to have in per­son, but they can travel the world through a book.”

Lit­er­acy and public ser­vices li­brar­ian Re­becca Boulter said Read­ing with Rosie is an im­por­tant pro­gram.

“It’s great for kids who maybe feel a lit­tle un­com­fort­able read­ing out loud or have trou­ble with their read­ing. It can make them quite com­fort­able with read­ing, and makes for an en­joy­able ex­pe­ri­ence be­cause kids love dogs.”

Boulter said the li­brary was thrilled to have Conover come back and are hop­ing the pro­gram’s pop­u­lar­ity will con­tinue to in­crease.

“It’s a re­ally great op­por­tu­nity for another lit­er­acy ini­tia­tive. We have so many other things go­ing on this sum­mer, but this is a re­ally unique and spe­cial pro­gram. We love it.”

The pro­gram runs Tues­days, 3:30-4:30 p.m., this sum­mer. Call the li­brary at 902-436-7323 to book a child’s 20-minute ses­sion with Rosie.

ANCELENE MACKIN­NON/TC MEDIA PHOTO

Nine-year-old Dal­ton Reeves reads to Rosie, a corgi mix, at the Summerside Ro­tary Li­brary. The sec­ond year for Read­ing with Rosie, a sum­mer pro­gram that helps chil­dren be­come more con­fi­dent read­ers, is un­der­way.

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