PEARLAND, Texas -- Reading time at Pearland Westside Library, located at 2803 Business Center Dr., has turned into Doggy Reading Time.

A year ago the library started bringing in therapy dogs for children to read to.

"I just got out of second grade and I'm going into third. I wouldn't say I'm an over-the-top reader. I'd kind of just say I'm a normal reader," said Alex who enjoys reading to a schnauzer named Buster.

Somewhere between the dog eared pages and actual dogs' ears, children pick up verbal skills and confidence and knowledge, experts said.

Anna Lopez is a parent and a teacher who has seen it happen.

"They're going to want to read because of the dogs, because there's no judgment in how they read and because it's a dog," she said. "Who doesn't love dogs?"

The method works even if the dogs are distracted or doze off.

"I mean, he's a dog so he can't really tell what I'm saying but I know that he's connected," Alex said.

Cats work too as reading dogs, said Faithful Paws therapy dog owner Carol Edeker. Faithful Paws is sponsored by Bellaire United Methodist Church.

The Doggy Reading Program also takes place in libraries in Channelview, Alvin and Angleton. Program leaders hope it will spread to more communities. After all Faithful Paws supplies the therapy dogs and their handlers for free.

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