Book Buddies Reading Program for Children

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

Dogs provide a safe and non-judgmental environment for children to practice reading at their own pace. Having a patient and attentive audience will motivate young readers, help them keep on task, and help them build confidence in their reading skills. The dog as the audience is a consistent listener who doesn’t mind being read the same materials, over and over while children build fluency. While reading aloud to dogs is beneficial for children, the attention the dogs receive is also beneficial for the dogs. Children can sense that the dogs are benefiting from their kindness and attention by reading to them, and this in turn will give children emotional support and a sense of purpose. Best of all, a dog will reduce a child’s blood pressure and general level of anxiety.

Our canine Book Buddies are certified therapy dogs. They are all ears, and they enjoy being read to! Sign a child up for a lifelong love of reading by signing them up for free Book Buddies Reading Program sessions. We encourage children 5 years and older to join us.

Book Buddies 2022 Reading Program Schedule

WHEN: Book Buddies Reading Program sessions take place every second Saturday of the month during 2022. The free 20-minute reading sessions will start at 9:30 am, 10:00 am, 10:35 am, and 11:05 am. Reserve a guaranteed spot by signing up!

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

HOW IT WORKS: Your child will have an opportunity to read to one of our certified therapy dogs, with the owner of the dog, a Guardian Whiskers Book Buddies volunteer, holding the end of a leash, at their own pace in a quiet reading room. Your child can bring their favorite book, or we will have books to choose from. We kindly ask that parents, guardians, siblings, and friends remain in our waiting area while the 20-minute reading session is completed by your child. Our Book Buddies volunteer 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!

SIGN YOUR CHILD UP by emailing [email protected], calling (608) 886-8849, or clicking on the button below. We encourage children 5 years and older to participate.

QUESTIONS? Contact us at [email protected] or (608) 886-8849.

Guardian Whiskers takes great pride in our Book Buddies, high-quality, well-trained, certified, 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 and Pet Partners testing/observation requirements and obtain registry with the organizations (all provided and funded by our program, if not already certified).

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!