Stillwater News Press

March 21, 2013

‘Molly’ to help children improve their reading skills

By Chase Rheam
Stillwater NewsPress

STILLWATER, Okla. — Man’s best friend can also be a companion to children learning to read.

The Stillwater Public Library will hold its second annual “Paws for Reading” program beginning next month.

“It’s kind of a popular program and a lot of libraries throughout the nation are having it, too,” said Children’s Librarian Elizabeth Murray.

Murray said the library aims to host programs that keep reading exciting and provide opportunities that may not be present at schools.

Molly, a golden retriever, is the sole dog in this year’s program. Molly is a certified therapy dog through Therapy Dogs International. Handler Katherine Howser said Molly is great with kids.

“I got Molly when she was 2 months old,” she said. “She’s 9 years old. She has always been a calm and loving dog and anyone who has ever met her has fallen in love instantly.”

Dates scheduled for the program are scattered throughout April, with the first occurring April 1 from 3:30 p.m. to 4:50 p.m.

A child can be signed up for 20-minute sessions in which they have the chance to read to Molly.

“The whole idea is to have a very relaxed and nonjudgmental atmosphere for a reader because some readers may have trouble sounding out words or read slowly,” Murray said.

Children in grades first through sixth are eligible for the program.

Howser, who graduated from Oklahoma State University with an elementary education degree in December 2012, said she wants to share her dog with the world.

“I believe that it helps with confidence more than anything,” she said. “They can ignore me. Molly is not going to judge them. She wants them to pet her and cuddle.”

Pre-registration is required.

 Those interested may call the library’s help desk at 372-3633 x106 or by emailing askalibrarian@stillwater.org. For more information on dates throughout the month, visit library.stillwater.org.