Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Best of New York magazine: Reading Dogs

New York Magazine: Best of New York
March 3 , 2009

Best Reading Program

R.E.A.D. With Mudge

Story time’s fun and all, but it’s not nearly as mind-blowing as New York Public Library’s R.E.A.D. With Mudge program, which pairs kids ages 5 and up with trained dogs at six library branches in Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island. That’s right: They get to read with a dog. The program (named after a popular book series about a boy and his dog, Mudge) helps kids focus on reading by taking a little pressure off them. At the Mulberry Street library branch, a calm Border Collie-Greyhound mix named Theo curls up on kids’ laps for one-on-one reading sessions that last twenty minutes. When a kid forgets to read out loud, the dog nudges him gently. When the child struggles with a word, Theo puts his paw on the page. It’s almost uncanny, says owner Kimberly Wang: “Sometimes I think Theo really can read.

nypl.org or 212-275-6975

Julie Earle-Levine