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