Local library helps kids reading skills by reading to dogs

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RANDOLPH COUNTY, W. Va. (WDTV) - Little Azul loves to read and in the spirit of Halloween, she had a chance to read one spooky story.

"The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything," said Azul Salas Baena.

She didn't do it in front of her classmates, but in front of Phoebe, a Goldendoodle, and just like the old lady who was not afraid of anything, she read out loud, without a scare in the world.

The 8-year-old went to Elkins-Randolph County Public Library on Oct. 12 and joined in FIDO (Fun Interacting with Dogs Outloud) a program that provides an accepting atmosphere for children to practice their reading skills by reading out loud to dogs.

Azul, a native Spanish speaker, read the book so well that even Phoebe was all ears.

"Phoebe is doing really well," said Kathleen Leo, Phoebe's owner and volunteer for Therapy Dogs International. "She loves people and she really loves children."

Phoebe is part of Therapy Dogs International. Her and her owner have recently started going and listening to children read and absolutely loves it.

"Of course the idea is that, you know children feel odd, afraid and reading for adults, specially if they don't know how to read very well and the dogs have a common influence on them," said Leo.

This kind of program helps kids, like Azul, go from this:

"Sometimes I get shy," said Azul.

To completely feel calm and read out loud without a worry in the world.

FIDO is a monthly service provided by the Elkins-Randolph County Public Library.