The East Norwalk Library’s ongoing “D2R2 – Dogs to Read to” program, received a sizeable contribution from the Broad River Animal Hospital to help expand its activities. Dr. Edward G. Senker, Dr. Michele Lamothe and Dr. John Stramaglia, owners of the Norwalk-based, Broad River Animal Hospital, were all excited when they learned of the D2R2 program.
“We strongly support building a more humane and caring community and feel the”D2R2 - Dogs to Read to” program raises awareness and further enhances the communities’ understanding of the power and implications of the human-animal bond. With the D2R2 program, both children and dogs benefit,” says Dr. Edward G. Senker, who founded Broad River Animal Hospital in 1979.
First introduced to the East Norwalk Library in April, 2009, the program – held Saturday mornings from 10:30 to 11:30 -- enables children to read to dogs who listen to the young readers. The specially trained and certified dogs are accompanied by their owners to help children improve their reading skills. With the help of the dogs, reading programs of this kind have shown to be effective in building children’s confidence in their own reading ability and help them learn to love reading. And, in kids’ own words, “it’s fun.”
“Due to the financial support of Broad River Animal Hospital,” says, Stan Siegel, Executive Director of the East Norwalk Library, “we will be expanding the programs benefit by formalizing the activity as the “D2R2 – Encouragement Club.”
“Each child who participates will, in addition to being able to pick and keep a book to read to the dogs, receive a ‘D2R2 Club’ card and Membership Certificate.” Siegel explains, “The ‘D2R2Club Card’ will be punched for each session the child attends and the children will be rewarded with special prizes after each 4 sessions attended.”
The D2R2 dogs and owners are organized through the efforts of Don Smith and his 3-year-old whippet, Brasil. It was through the efforts of RSVP (Retired Seniors Volunteer Program) of Norwalk that the program was inaugurated at the East Norwalk Library.
Since the program’s inception in April, 2009, more than 50 families have had their children participate. “The name of the East Norwalk Library program – “D2R2 –- Dogs to Read to --” adds Siegel, “was designed as a catch phrase to pique the interest and curiosity of both parents and children.
“The catch-phrase and curiosity seems to have worked since the program continues to bring in new young as well as repeat readers.”
As a testimony to the program’s success, a 9-year old D2R2 participant, Kevontae Haye, was featured on ABC’s Good Morning America with Diane Sawyer last month
“It is gratifying to receive contributions such as the grant from Broad River Animal Hospital,” Siegel concludes, “so that Library programs such as ‘D2R2’ can not only continue, but grow in their usefulness to our community.”
For more information regarding “D2R2,” visit the Library at 51 Van Zant Street or call 838-0498 ext 100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org