LIVERMORE -- Elementary school children struggling with reading will be able to practice with some furry friends during the upcoming "Paws to Read" series at the Livermore Library.

The free program, sponsored by the library and Valley Humane Society, encourages beginning readers by pairing them with trained and certified dogs. The children read to their canine pals for 25 minutes in a non-judgmental environment, while the dog owners stay nearby to help with difficult words.

The 2013 series runs Wednesdays from Jan. 16 to March 6, with evening sessions at 7 and 7:35 p.m. Children may register for up to three sessions, depending on space. Drop-ins may be allowed on a first-come, first-served basis. Participating children should not be fearful of dogs or have pet allergies.

Registrations will be accepted beginning Jan. 2. For details, call 925-373-5504.

Contact Jeremy Thomas at 925-847-2184 or follow him at twitter.com/jet_bang