Puppy Dog Tales - March 2016
Bookworms Are Not So Icky...
A unique volunteer program kicks off its seventh year of reading books to children in classrooms. This year - to Daisy Mae's delight - the theme is animals.
- by Daisy Mae Delray, columnist and registered seizure alert dog
I asked Kathy Wilson, Chair of the committee and Hancock County School District Community Relations Director, why the animal theme this year.
“We picked animals because they are wonderful,” Wilson said, “and because we are an animal-friendly community. Pets even have their own Mardi Gras and share our lives in so many ways.”
Here is how the program works. Sponsors and readers sign up to read and to purchase three animal-themed books for each class that will be read to. That adds up to about 50 classrooms, 1,500 students, and 150 books. Wow!
Each book has two stickers, the first of which reads, “This book was donated as a part of the Hancock County Chamber of Commerce Bookwork Program.” The second sticker is individualized. For example, in the books I donated it reads, “This book donated by Christina Richardson & Puppy Dog Tales in memory of Mikey MacDougal.” The class gets to keep all three books to add to the collection from the past six years of the program.
We were assigned to a third grade class at North Bay and given our books. We have emailed the teacher and she will work with us to find the right days and times to get all three books read before the end of the year. With the permission of the teachers, readers are encouraged to bring their pets to the classroom.
We are to have read the books before going to the class, and we have homework too. There are lesson plans available online for the books we are assigned. In addition to reading the book, we are to ask the students questions that get them interested in the subject. We also make sure they hear the name of the author and illustrator, and we are sure to be enthusiastic and patient.
Reading aloud is one of the best ways to create lifelong readers. The Read-Aloud handbook and Jim Trelease’s website give many reasons why reading to children is beneficial. Another wonderful source is Reading is Fundamental.
We are really excited to be a part of this wonderful Chamber program, especially with the addition of us animals in the mix. In an alliance between Friends of the Animal Shelter in Hancock County and the Boys and Girls Club, the Hancock County Library program “Reading with Friends” has students reading to the dogs. Now we get to read to them. Bonding over reading is wonderful.
Please read to your children with the pets present and then let them read to you and the pets too. These will be precious memories and will help lead to a lifelong love of reading and of us pets.
Keep your tail high and your feet dry!
Love, Daisy Mae
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