Learning to read is often less about intellectual limitation than it is about overcoming fears, especially for children that are having trouble reading. Animals are ideal reading companions because they:

- Help increase relaxation and lower blood pressure
- Listen attentively
- Do not judge, laugh, or criticize
- Allow children to proceed at their own pace
- Are less intimidating than peers

When a dog is listening to a child read, the environment is transformed; a child’s dread is replaced by eager anticipation, and learning inevitably occurs.

Marley’s Mutts’ “human volunteers”, too, are supportive and available to give kids the loving space they need for a positive shift in their reading performance.

This type of supervised reading gives kids the practice necessary to build vocabulary, increase understanding of the material, and gain fluency as a reader.

Our first session at Beale Library was a sight to behold: Curled up next to the dogs on a rainbow colored carpet, kids sounded out tough words, flipped the books around to show the dogs the illustrations, and took breaks in between to scratch the dogs’ heads or rub their bellies. These kinds of programs are popping up nationwide, as studies are showing that children’s reading skills increase significantly in the presence of loving, non-judgmental reading buddies.

Marley’s Mutts will be bringing dogs by to read with the kids at Beale Library from 4:00-6:00PM every 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month.


For more information, or to sign your child up for a 15-20 minute reading session with a Mutt, call Susan Palm at 661-868-0745 or661-868-0752, or [email protected] Beale Library is located at 701 Truxtun Avenue, Bakersfield, CA 93301.



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