Friday, July 3, 2009

Dogs and reading

I know that my hoary conception of librarians as shepherds for sheep is no longer de rigueur; today's librarians lean more toward precepts like the Librarians 2.0 Manifesto, so I've reluctantly abandoned my sheep simile and begun looking for middle ground. That's why a Boston librarian's tweet about a visit from Lucy the Reading Dog made my ears prick up - a new market for public libraries! This was something different though, as I learned from the Massachussetts Pet Partners page.  For several years now, READ dogs (Reading Education Assistance Dogs) have been helping kids learn how to read. In a nutshell, the dogs are trained to "listen" while children read to them; the dogs attentiveness boosts the child's confidence. More importantly, teacher Pat Howe points out, "The dog listens without making any comments, judgment, or criticisms". Very much like what humans used to do in the classroom, before the advent of backchanneling.

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