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PAWS for Reading

St. Louis, MO . . . The St. Louis Public Library will kickoff National Library Week with a “woof” when it introduces PAWS for Reading, an innovative program that encourages kids to read. The kickoff event takes place at Central Library, 1301 Olive St., on Monday, April 13 at 10 a.m.

PAWS for Reading is one of the newest programs created by Support Dogs Inc. Children ages 4-12 are encouraged to visit the Library and read aloud to their canine buddies. Dogs make perfect pals because they are non-threatening, promote trust, and encourage children to take risks in learning by reading aloud, which enhances self-esteem by improving literacy.

A trained volunteer and dog will visit each designated Branch once a week for four weeks. Children will be given journals and encouraged to keep a log of the books they have read. An incentive program provides rewards for each reading milestone.

Children and their caregivers can join in the PAWS for Reading fun from April 13 through May 8, from 4-5 p.m., at the following Library locations:

*     Central, 1301 Olive St. (Mondays)

*     Buder, 4401 Hampton Ave. (Tuesdays)

*     Carpenter, 3309 S. Grand Blvd. (Wednesdays)

*     Julia Davis, 4415 Natural Bridge Ave. (Thursdays)

*     Schlafly, 225 N. Euclid Ave. (Fridays)

Said Diane Freiermuth, Deputy Director of the St. Louis Public Library, “Programs like PAWS for Reading are important because they get children excited about reading. Libraries have always been at the forefront of literacy efforts in the community, and it's vital that we continue to find new and engaging ways for children to appreciate the importance and joy of reading. Partnering with Support Dogs, Inc. is a wonderful opportunity for the St. Louis Public Library to offer another creative program to nurture children's love of books.”

Noted Bill Dahlkamp, Programs Director for Support Dogs, Inc., “The PAWS for Reading Program provides a wonderful opportunity for children to read, offering a unique incentive in a non-threatening environment. Children in the program really look forward to reading to the PAWS for Reading dogs and often times practice their reading with their personal pets at home. This is exactly what we want!”

For details, call 314-539-0382.

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4/01/2009