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'Best friend' is good listener, too
At first glance, one might have thought the Brunswick-Glynn County Public Library on Gloucester Street was going to the dogs.

What was actually happening was a new reading program that involves canines.

But don't get any silly ideas. The first-time program at the library was for young children who are either learning to read or polishing their reading skills.

"Anything that gets them reading and gets them excited is a novel approach," said Laura Bucur, who took her 4-year-old daughter Melissa Bedelean to the event Friday.

It worked for Melissa, who read the book "Good Night Gorilla" to Bene, a soft coated Wheaton terrier owned by Gwen Scott of Brunswick.

Bucur said she likes the program because children drop their inhibitions about reading aloud when it's to a dog.

"Any kid can read to a dog," she said.

"The environment was open enough that (Melissa) decided to read to the dog. I don't think she would read to a roomful of kids, but a dog was no problem. I think it's wonderful."

That's exactly the reason the library sponsored the program, said Karen Larrick, program coordinator at the library.

The reading program is designed to create a relaxed atmosphere that allows children to practice reading in a comfortable setting with a friendly dog.

Children chose their favorite book Friday and sat next to one of the canines brought to the library by Therapy Dogs International and read a story.

Larrick said she was pleased with how the children and dogs interacted with each other.

"Reading aloud is a good skill to have," she said.

Larrick said the dog reading program will make return visits to the library.

"We're hoping to make it an ongoing program," she said. "Children want to read to the dogs."

* Reporter Gordon Jackson writes about government and other local topics. Contact him at gjackson@thebrunswick news.com, on Facebook or at 265-8320, ext. 323.



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