We are fortunate to have a really great library system in Jefferson Parish. At many of the branches, there are storytimes, family nights, and book clubs. It’s wonderful that our library puts such a focus on literacy, especially for young children. That is why they partner with Reading to Rover, a monthly program designed to help children to improve reading skills.
Reading to Rover
Reading to Rover is a partnership with the Visiting Pet Program, a volunteer program using therapy dogs. They visit Jefferson Parish libraries twice a month: the third Tuesday on the East Bank and the second Sunday on the West Bank. Since the program is held at the library, you are not required to bring your own reading material. The library puts out a selection of dog related books. But if your child has another preference, you are more than welcome to bring your own books along.
Be sure to arrive early, as Reading to Rover is a very popular program. The last time we went, there were well over twenty children participating. This led to a longer wait time and only enough time to read to one dog. Waiting to read is not a problem, as there are plenty of chairs available. Plus, your child has plenty of time to pick out a book and look through it. There are also times when participation is low and your child can read to multiple dogs. We met a lot of new best friends this way!
When you first arrive to the library, you will add your child’s name to a list. The dog your child will read to is subject to availability, unless your child is willing to wait longer for a popular dog. My daughter really wanted to read to Tookie, a dog we met on our first visit; but she was happy to read to Chaz who is a very soft and fluffy friend. And very eager to accept a treat when she finished!
After a child is finished reading to a dog, she’ll go back to the signup table to collect a bookmark with the dog’s name on it (and a piece of candy). If there is enough time, she may sign up to read to another dog. We’ve read to as many as four dogs in one night. The next dates for Reading to Rover are March 18 at the East Bank Regional Library on West Napoleon from 6:30-7:30pm and April 13 at the West Bank Regional Library on Manhattan from 2:00-3:00pm. The program is held in the children’s sections of both locations.