Saturday, October 24, 2015

Reading with Lily

Children read with a furry friend.
Andi Kelley reading with Lily.
Danielle & Derrick Hardy read a story to Lily.

Lily is a white boxer with a brown patch over her left eye. She’s loving, gentle, and sometimes silly. She’s also a literacy mentor. Every first and third Monday of the month from 4:15-5:15 p.m., children can sign up for free, ten-minute sessions to read aloud to her for enjoyment or to improve literacy skills.

Lily and her owner, Anne Williams, have volunteered at the Library since September 2012. They are a registered team with READing Paws, a non-profit affiliate of R.E.A.D.® (Reading Education Assistance Dogs®), which ensures dogs are trained and tested for health and safety and have the appropriate skills and temperament. R.E.A.D.®, a program of Intermountain Therapy Animals® (ITA), utilizes therapy animals to help improve children’s reading and communication skills and teaches them to love books and reading by employing a powerful method:  reading to an animal.

“We are grateful that Anne and Lily spend time with our children reading together,” says Susan Earl, library director. “So many children have bonded with Lily and improved their reading skills along the way.  Lily never complains and welcomes all the children reading to her.  She loves learning and lots of hugs!”

Lily, now 10 years old, and Anne have been working with children for eight years. After completion of training and registration with READing Paws, they worked individually with children at Scales Elementary in cooperation with the school’s reading specialist.

During Lily’s training to become a CD(Companion Dog) at the Nashville Dog Training club, Anne and the trainers noted that Lily might have the temperament to work as a therapy dog. That’s when Anne found READing Paws and completed registration and training.

When Lily is not listening to children read, she enjoys chasing squirrels and eating vanilla ice cream with Anne’s husband, Bob. She also tolerates her boxer brother, Ben. Anne and her husband Bob are Brentwood residents. They have been married 23 years. They have five children and five grandchildren.