Telling ‘Tales With Tails’

AWA’s reading program brings together kids and dogs

The Animal Welfare Association in Voorhees is bringing back their ‘Tales with Tails’ reading program on March 2. The popular program in conjunction with ‘Read Across America’ brings local children into the shelter to read short stories to adoptable dogs.

Regular sessions of “Tales With Tails” will return to the Animal Welfare Association (AWA) in Voorhees beginning March 4.

The popular children’s reading program celebrates the “Read Across America” campaign by encouraging children to find their passion for reading. The sessions will take place on Tuesday   and Wednesday from 3 to 4 p.m. and 4 to 5 p.m. Saturday sessions will take place from 11 a.m. to noon. 

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The kickoff for “Tales With Tails” is a special session on March 2, when South Jersey author Martha Mosley will share her book, “A Place for Grace.”

“(The book) Is about the importance of adopting the older generation of dogs,” said AWA staffer Stephanie Sieban. “It’s a beautiful book for children 5 and up. She (Mosley) will be here reading to the children, then they will go and read to the dogs. All the children here will receive a free children’s book to take home.”

Each reader will also receive a special event bookmark featuring AWA’s mascot, Scout.

Alicia Haley, Humane Education Coordinator at AWA, said the success of the reading program led to its extended hours and extra day. The center hopes to add more days in the future.

“We had really good success (after last year), so we have been able to expand it starting in March,” she explained. “The general program will actually be the same, but we are just adding a lot more time. In the past it was only two Saturdays a week; now we have it every Saturday, as well as Tuesdays and Thursdays.”

Haley said students who haven’t visited the AWA previously get a quick orientation that teaches them how to respect the reading animals’ personal space and how to interact with them.

“We’ve seen a ton of positive responses from the animals (to the children),” she added.

The AWA has also used pet therapy dogs for “Tales With Tails” at other locations, another aspect of the program it hopes to expand. There are also frequent summer reading sessions  that utilize therapy animals.

Visit the AWA website and Facebook page for more information, as well as adoption updates.

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