May 5, 2017

Downtown Books in Manteo North Carolina hosted “Reading Labs,” and you’ll never guess who showed up


Woof woof woof. Bark bark. Woof wooooooooooof.

Last Friday, Downtown Books in Manteo, North Carolina launched a pilot program called “Reading Labs.” This community partnership is an attempt to use research-driven methods to provide emerging readers with an alternative environment that will promote self-confidence and reduce anxiety. Since we are living on the precipice of the singularity, and since every other time you turn on the radio you hear some nutcase screaming about JOBS and ROBOTS and AUTOMATION, you could be forgiven for assuming that “Book Labs” was short for “Book Laboratories,” and that it would be a super-dumb attempt to transform the fun and beautiful act of reading into the sad and boring act of writing JavaScript or tweeting or something.

Mercifully, you would be wrong, because Book Labs is short for Book Labradors! We’re talking about dogs, people!

As adorably reported by the Outer Banks Voice, the partner program brought together Downtown Books, the Outer Banks SPCA, and Mano el Hermano (an advocacy group serving the Latino community in Dare County) for an afternoon of puppy-powered literacy education. Essentially, a bunch of kids and dogs got together and the kids read stories out loud to the dogs.

According to the article, research shows that young readers who struggle with anxiety about reading, or who are learning to read English as a second language, can benefit from reading out loud to a dog. Presumably because dogs do not pass judgement on young humans struggling to pronounce “library.” Also their love and admiration know no bounds, and they will follow you even to the ends of the earth, and beyond.

Go dogs! Go books! Go Downtown Books in Manteo, North Carolina!



Simon Reichley is the Director of Operations and Rights Manager at Melville House.