Pooches take center stage
Library celebrates 10 years of Paws to Read
A Pooch Parade tomorrow -- from Veterans Plaza Park at 550 Peters Ave. to the Pleasanton library a few blocks away -- will kick off a free event to celebrate the 10th anniversary of its popular Paws to Read.
This program has children reading one-on-one to dogs to improve the kids' literacy skills and take away the pressure of reading in the classroom. Now there are dozens of programs at libraries around the state but it all began in Pleasanton.
Reading specialists from the schools are given priority registration for their students. Studies show Paws to Read also leads to improved reading scores, improved confidence and self-esteem.
More than 7,000 children in grades 1-5 have benefited from the program over the past decade. The Pleasanton library offers it for six consecutive weeks during the fall, winter and spring, and for four weeks in the summer.
Between 18 and 22 Paws to Read dogs and handlers participate each week. They are certified through the Valley Humane Society, which gives a temperament and obedience assessment of the dog to make sure it is well suited to the program.
Tomorrow's celebration will begin at 9:30 a.m. with the parade, which will proceed down Peters to Old Bernal Avenue. A brief ceremony will be followed by a demonstration of dog enrichment activities by professional dog trainer Christine Salazar and a Meet and Greet of the Paws to Read dog teams. Children will be able to sign up for a 15-minute reading session.
Valley Humane Society will be holding pet adoptions at the event, which will also feature kid's activities and information booths, including the chance to ask questions of a veterinarian.