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Getting the words out
by Jessica Garcia
May 23, 2010 | 1699 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
<a href= mailto:jgarcia@dailysparkstribune.com>Tribune/Jessica Garcia</a> - Spanish Springs resident Angela Freeman listens as her 5-year-old daughter, Rachel, reads next to a Paws for Love dog. To celebrate the Spanish Springs Library's fifth anniversary on Sunday, Paws for Love brought in extra dogs to help kids build their reading skills and confidence.
Tribune/Jessica Garcia - Spanish Springs resident Angela Freeman listens as her 5-year-old daughter, Rachel, reads next to a Paws for Love dog. To celebrate the Spanish Springs Library's fifth anniversary on Sunday, Paws for Love brought in extra dogs to help kids build their reading skills and confidence.
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<a href= mailto:jgarcia@dailysparkstribune.com>Tribune/Jessica Garcia</a> - Tammy Buzick and her English cocker spaniel, Dozer, listen with interest as kids take to the page and read out loud.
Tribune/Jessica Garcia - Tammy Buzick and her English cocker spaniel, Dozer, listen with interest as kids take to the page and read out loud.
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Courtesy Spanish Springs Library - The library is shown under construction in 2005. The branch celebrated its fifth anniversary on Sunday.
Courtesy Spanish Springs Library - The library is shown under construction in 2005. The branch celebrated its fifth anniversary on Sunday.
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SPARKS – Angela Freeman of Spanish Springs walked into the Spanish Springs Library on Sunday as she would have on any normal day and was pleasantly surprised to find Paws of Love dogs available for children to practice reading out loud. Her daughters Rebecca, 7, and Rachel, 5, took to the books immediately and sat by a furry friend to read a story.

“I think it’s so great,” Angela said. “They’re both really good readers. (Rebecca) reads a chapter book every day.”

They were surrounded by several teams of other dogs and their handlers and children who became excited about picking up a good book. The teams from Paws for Love were a special attraction for the Spanish Springs Library, which celebrated its fifth anniversary on Sunday.

Corinne Dickman, librarian since the branch opened, said foot traffic has increased since its beginning.

“Business is increasing; we have more business per hour,” she said. “It takes word of mouth and you build your clientele through word of mouth and being present.”

The library, located in an unincorporated suburb that continues to grow, offers a drive-thru service for people to stop by and pick up materials when they’re short on time. The branch is staffed by 15 who all have access to databases to help the public with its needs and it also serves young people who are offered weekly activities such as video game playing or reading times.

“The public library is for everyone,” Dickman said. “It’s important that we respect every age.”

Arnold Maurins, library director, stopped by for the celebration to listen to local band Sol Jibe.

“This library is an important part of the community,” he said. “People really appreciate it. It was wonderful that we built it when we did, but in this climate now, we couldn’t have done it.”

Recently, the Washoe County Library System Board of Trustees voted to adjust branch hours for several locations to accommodate foot traffic at different hours of the day. Starting July 12, Spanish Springs will go to a 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. schedule on Mondays and 12 to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

It is only one of two branches in Washoe County open on Sundays.

Even as some kids were making crafts Sunday, one of Sunday’s highlights were the dogs as children picked books and gathered around various breeds of dogs.

Tammy Buzick offered her English cocker spaniel Dozer. The two are eight-year veterans of Paws for Love, which sends dogs into hospitals or other community organizations for companionship to various populations.

“I didn’t like reading as a kid,” Buzick said. “(Now I’m) just helping kids read and the dog likes the rhythm in their voice.”

Buzick’s grandfather lived in assisted living accommodations and she realized how important it was to volunteer and help the community and brought Dozer to assist.

“Dogs don’t judge you if you get a word wrong,” she said. “This library has been great with the dog program. We come in the fourth Sunday of the month.”

Most of the teams on Sunday attend other libraries, said Paws for Love president Scott Meddaugh.

“There are no set regulations (to be a part of Paws for Love), just basic obedience is needed … about six months to a year,” Meddaugh said. “What the focus is here is for kids to build their confidence and love of reading. Dogs can help with reading comprehension.”

He said studies have shown that kids in classrooms who read to dogs have about a 12 to 46 percent reading improvement rate over those kids who don’t have dogs to read to in other classes.

“It’s all about the environment we create with the dogs,” he said.

Freeman felt the same way by allowing her daughters to read out loud.

“I’ve encouraged her (Rachel) to read a little more out loud,” she said. “She’s a little shy.”
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