Posted By: Rachael Miner

It's a typical weekend afternoon for Chloe Christ.

She's a second grader at Morley Elementary and she's working on her reading skills with a little help from Hugh.

"He loves his kids and coming to do his job and loves listening to stories and will sometimes fall asleep to them if the kids are doing really well," said Mimi Harvey, Hugh's handler and READ volunteer.

Hugh is part of the R.E.A.D. program, which stands for reading education assistance dogs. He and Harvey have been participating in Lincoln City Libraries read to a dog program for several years.

It helps kids from kindergarten to sixth grade become stronger readers.

"Our goal is for them to just have fun and it's not to be a perfect reading session but to have fun and just get better at what they're doing each time," said Shelley Ruterbories, a librarian with Lincoln City Library.

Hugh isn't the only dog students can read to.

Five libraries across the city participate in the program: Eisely, Gere, South Branch, Walt, and Anderson, and there's different dogs at each library, but all of them help students in the same way.

"Just the reduction in anxiety for kids opens a lot of doors in terms of reading comprehension and pronunciation it's just that step of you have to try and practice to be able to gain all those literacy skills," said Harvey.

Students can sign up or drop in for twenty minutes sessions with the dogs at any of the participating libraries.

The program is completely free and offered twice a year, in the spring and in the fall.

"It just makes me feel better knowing I'm making lifelong readers and helping them have success in school maybe where they weren't have such success," Harvey said.

If you want to sing your child up for the program you can find the days, times, and who to contact here.