Book Buddies Reading Program for Children

Not only is reading aloud to dogs fun, but it also has many benefits!

Guardian Whiskers’ Book Buddies Reading Program offers opportunities for children to practice reading aloud to certified therapy dogs in a safe and supportive environment. The reading sessions allow one child at a time to read to one therapy dog. Children can go at their own pace in sharing books with the dogs, repeating passages if they need to, while they build fluency in reading. Our Buddies are all ears and enjoy the good company and being read to. They don’t mind imperfection and will not point out mistakes! By having a patient and attentive audience, young readers can feel motivated to share a book, be kept on task, and build confidence in their reading skills. Best of all, being in the company of a pet has many proven health benefits, including reducing blood pressure and anxiety. Studies have shown that reading to an animal develops a lifelong interest in learning.

Sign a child up for a lifelong love of reading by signing them up for Book Buddies Reading Program sessions.

We encourage children 5 years and older to join us.

Book Buddies Reading Program Schedule

HOW IT WORKS: A child will have an opportunity to read a book, or more, aloud in a free 20-minute reading session to a Book Buddies team, consisting of a registered therapy dog with their owner (also trained and registered) holding the end of a leash. With the patient ears of the therapy dog, reading is at the pace of the child in a quiet reading room. Bring a favorite book, or choose from our selection of books. We kindly ask that parents, guardians, siblings, and friends remain in our waiting area while the reading session is in progress. Our Book Buddies volunteers will help only when needed through difficult words or to maintain the flow of the story, rather than pointing out mistakes. We are not looking for perfection – and neither are the dogs! Drop-ins are welcome, however, we strongly suggest making reservations to guarantee a spot.

We encourage children 5 years and older to participate.

At City Dog Veterinary Clinic:

WHEN: Book Buddies Reading Program sessions take place every second Saturday of the month. The 20-minute reading sessions start at 9:30 am, 10:00 am, 10:35 am, and 11:05 am. Reserve a spot for a child by signing up!

ADDRESS: City Dog Veterinary Clinic, 1004 East Washington Street in Madison, Wisconsin

PARKING is available for free on nearby streets; parking in the garage below the building is available for a fee. (Walk up the ramp to gain access to the outside.)

SIGN UP by clicking on the button below, or by emailing [email protected], or calling/texting (608) 886-8849

At Harmony at Grandview Commons Apartments

WHEN: Every second Tuesday of the month from 5:30 pm – 7 pm.

WHERE: In the community room.

ADDRESS: 116 Milky Way in Madison, Wisconsin

SIGN UP by stopping by! This is a drop-in program.

At Meadowridge Public Library:

When: Monthly on Saturdays from 10-11:30 am. Upcoming 2024 dates are Saturday, Feb. 24; Saturday, March 16, and Saturday, April 20.

ADDRESS: Meadowridge Public Library, 5726 Raymond Road in Madison, Wisconsin

SIGN UP by stopping by! It’s a drop-in program.

QUESTIONS? Email us at [email protected] or call/text at (608) 886-8849

SNOW CANCELLATIONS: In the event of severely inclement weather, the Book Buddies Reading Program may cancel. Please look for communication from us according to your communication preference. If you have reserved a reading session, we will send you a notice of cancellation by 3 pm the previous day. If nearby public schools and libraries have closed because of the weather, we will also cancel our reading program.

Guardian Whiskers takes great pride in our Book Buddies, high-quality, well-trained, registered, and insured volunteer therapy dog teams. Each therapy dog team is comprised of one registered therapy dog and their person.


Book Buddy therapy dogs are gentle, polite, and love people! The owner of the dog is always holding the other end of the leash and is trained and background checked to ensure the safety of everyone involved. All therapy dogs are up-to-date on required vaccinations and have reliable, sound temperaments.


The canine Book Buddies and their people must successfully complete Alliance of Therapy Dogs or Pet Partners testing/observation requirements and obtain a registry with the organizations.

We’re always looking for ways to continue our work in the community. Please reach out to us if you’re inspired by the healing bond people and humans share! Email us at [email protected] or call/text (608) 886-8849.

Images of two dogs, one waving a Hello! and the other in a play bow exuding relaxing energy, with the following text: Studies show Animal Companions: Develop Social Skills and Soothe Anxiety