Dylan Anderson, 9, of Salem, scoured the racks of the Community Library in Salem to find the perfect book to read to Cathal, a 9-year-old Staffordshire bull terrier therapy dog on Monday.
The book chosen: “The Puppy Place No. 25: Cocoa,” which is a story about a rambunctious chocolate lab puppy that needs to find a home.
Anderson participated in the Paws to Read program on Monday for the first time. He saw a poster at his school promoting the program and thought he would try it, although he wasn't sure what to expect.
“I thought it was going to be a little boring, but it was a lot of fun,” said Anderson. “I'm going to come back and do it again.”
Riley Achterhof, 7, of Kenosha, has been reading monthly to the dogs for the past eight months. She said she likes to pet the dogs as she reads.
On Monday, Achterhof picked out the book “Judy Moody: Twice as Moody” to read to Cathal. She plowed through page after page of the 304-page chapter book without missing a beat, or syllable. Cathal closed his eyes as he leaned into her while she read.
Her mother, Colleen, said the program is a great confidence builder.
“Riley didn't like to read out loud (before the program),” she said. “Now, she reads out loud in class and at home.”
The Paws to Read program pairs children and therapy dogs together for 15-minute reading sessions.
The Community Library, 24615 89th St., hosts the program every third Monday of the month from 4 to 5 p.m.
Anyone can sign up for a reading session with the program by stopping into the library or calling 262-843-3348.