More research is discovering the benefits of children reading to dogs. The research suggest reading to a dog provides a level of comfort which translates into more confidence and improved reading skills. Young readers feel dogs are less judgmental allowing them to be much more relaxed while reading. Libraries across the country are noticing this growing trend. The Oshkosh Public Library in Wisconsin has created a literacy program for children called “Read to a Dog”. Therapy dogs are not only helping young children read but also reduce the stress level for college students during finals week. Libraries at the University of Connecticut, M.I.T., and Yale Law School all offer therapy dog programs.
Due to safety concerns these programs require all dogs and handlers to be professionally licensed and trained. Many libraries use therapy dogs trained at the Reading Education Assistance Dogs program (R.E.A.D.) founded in 1999. The R.E.A.D. program has 2, 000 registered members mostly in the United States, Canada, and Europe.