Viewfinder: Tail Waggin' Tutors Help Children Practice Reading
Cromaine District Library hosts monthly program where dogs listen.
Seven-year-old Grace Pawlak, of Hartland, was one of four children waiting at Cromaine District Library on Thursday evening for a chance to read with Arctic “Storm” Wiedbusch, one of the Tail Waggin’ Tutors.
“She comes here every time – she wants a dog and I don’t, so this is a compromise. She really likes it,” says Grace's mother, Michelle Pawlak.
Tail Waggin’ Tutors, part of Therapy Dogs International (TDI), comes to the main branch of the library every third Thursday of the month in order to give children an opportunity to read to a dog. Each child is allowed 10 minutes to read aloud to the canines.
The children feel more comfortable reading to the dogs, and it helps to build their confidence, according to Ron Wiedbusch, owner of Storm, a 3-year-old 135-pound hybrid German Shepherd. The interaction also helps to “socialize” the children with animals, he added.
The event was the second time that day that Will Wisinski, 5, of Brighton Township, was able to read to Storm, who visited his school in Ypsilanti earlier in the day.
“He just likes to read,” his mother, Karen Wisinski, said.
Two other dogs participated in the Thursday event at Cromaine.
Cher, an 11-year-old Labrador retriever, arrived with her owner Mary Humphries of Highland along with her daughter Kaylin, 10.. Murphy, a golden retriever puppy from Paradise Dog Training is almost 4 months old and is part of the puppy training program.
Both canines provided fun entertainment for the children as they awaited their turn with Storm.
According to Wiedbusch, Storm has won numerous assistance and service dog awards.
“Grandma” Joyce Croff accompanies Wiedbusch and Storm to each event.
“I come to sit there and watch because there are too many kids that don’t have a grandma,” she said.
To register for next month's event on March 17, click here.