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6/3/2014 11:19:00 AM
Paws to Read comes to Williams Library
Program gives kids a chance to read to a dog, found to improve reading skills
Young readers can practice their skills by reading to Tristan the dog as part of the Paws to Read program at the Williams Public Library. Ryan Williams/WGCN
Young readers can practice their skills by reading to Tristan the dog as part of the Paws to Read program at the Williams Public Library. Ryan Williams/WGCN

Marissa Freireich
Williams-Grand Canyon News Reporter


WILLIAMS, Ariz. - Although school is out for the summer, kids can still enjoy fun and educational activities through the Williams Public Library's Summer Reading Program.

The program starts June 11 and goes for six weeks. Librarian Andrea Dunn said the library will organize programs throughout the week for kids of all ages. This year's theme is "Fizz Boom Read."

Every Wednesday from 10 to 11 a.m., Kaibab National Forest employees will present creative interactive programming.

"They're going to take the kids outside and do stuff out there with them and they're going to do video presentations and things like that," Dunn said. "So it ought to be a lot of fun."

New this year is the Paws to Read program, which allows kids to read to a dog. Dog owner Shaula Watson said Flagstaff has had the program for about 12 years, but this is her first year getting involved with her dog Tristan.

"They found that it improves the children's reading levels immensely because when they read to the dog, they're not afraid, they're not being judged, they're not being evaluated," Watson said. "They're just able to read and enjoy it."

Tristan has worked as a therapy dog for three years and regularly visits patients at Flagstaff Medical Center. He'll take part in the Paws to Read program on Thursdays from 10 to 11 a.m. from June 19 to July 31. Kids or parents can go to the library to sign up for a block of time to read to Tristan.

"He's going to be a really smart dog by the end of the summer," Watson said.

On Tuesday mornings from 10 to 10:30 a.m. Michelle Simmons from North Country HealthCare will present Story Time With Infants and Toddlers. This activity is geared toward kids ages five and younger and starts on June 17.

Besides the activities at the library, kids can also keep a reading log to track how much they've read to earn prizes.

Dunn said the Summer Reading Program is important "to keep kids interested in reading and keep their skills up during the summertime when they're not going to school."

She added that the program teaches kids to have a love of books.

"Every kid needs to have a love of books," she said. "I just think that kids that don't love to read are missing out on so much. There's just so many wonderful books out there."

The Williams Public Library is at 113 S. First St. More information about the Summer Reading Program is available at (928) 635-2663.


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