Reading with Nala builds confidence in kids

A new reading program at the Beaconsfield Library pairs children with dogs to help build confidence and literacy skills

We all remember that moment in our early school years when our teachers would call on us to read aloud from the book or story we were studying. For most, it’s not a problem, but for students with a fear of public speaking or who aren’t confident enough in their literacy skills, it can be a living nightmare. A program at Beaconsfield Library wants to help change that.

Reading with Nala, which starts this fall, pairs a struggling reader with a certified therapy dog. The reader, between the ages of 6 and 12, first picks a story he or she thinks Nala the dog will enjoy, then reads it to her.

Therapeutic Paws of Canada, which sponsors the event by providing the therapy dog, says that studies have shown that reading aloud to dogs boosts children’s confidence and self-esteem to help them read aloud in class, which in turn improves their literacy – and inevitably fosters a love, instead of a fear, of reading.

Reading with Nala sessions last 15 minutes each. The first takes place at Beaconsfield Library on Sept. 27 between 2 and 4 p.m. Registration is required. There will be more sessions throughout the fall, on Oct. 18, Nov. 15 and 22, and Dec. 13.

For more information, call 514-428-4460.