Dog Ears Bookstore and the Erie County Youth Bureau will be offering free afterschool youth programming during October, November and December. Three different cohorts of programming will be offered by grade group. Tuesdays will feature programming for youth in grades K-2nd, Wednesdays will be targeted towards youth in 3rd-5th grades, and 6th-8th graders will have the opportunity to attend programming on Thursdays.

All sessions will be held from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. and are limited to 10 students per cohort. At this time, parents are only able to register their children for one cohort of programming (October, November or December) so that as many children as possible can attend and participate.

All sessions will be taught by literacy specialists and New York State-certified English Language Arts teachers. Tuesday sessions for K-2nd graders will be themed around the different fall holidays and will feature story time, reading aloud, and activities that will focus on introducing youth to the love of reading. Wednesday sessions for 3rd-5th graders will feature a guided book club where youth will learn tips and strategies on how to become better readers in a fun and interactive way. On Thursdays, 6th-8th graders will take part in Reader & Writer Workshops where they will read different short stories and learn strategies on how to become a short story author themselves. All class materials will be provided along with a small snack.

Workshops will be held on the following dates:

• Grades K-2: Tuesdays (Cohort 1 – 10/13, 10/20, 10/27; Cohort 2 – 11/3, 11/10, 11/17; Cohort 3 – 12/1, 12/8, 12/15)

• Grades 3-5: Wednesdays (Cohort 1 – 10/14, 10/21, 10/28; Cohort 2 – 11/4, 11/11, 11/18; Cohort 3 – 12/2, 12/9, 12/16)

• Grades 6-8: Thursdays (Cohort 1 – 10/15, 10/22, 10/29; Cohort 2 – 11/5, 11/12, 11/19; Cohort 3 – 12/3, 12/10, 12/17)

All sessions will be held at Dog Ears Bookstore, which is located at 688 Abbott Road, Buffalo.  Sessions will be held on the second floor (enter through the front entrance). All COVID protocols must be followed including social distancing and mask wearing. Adults do not need to attend with their child but must be mindful of the drop off and pick up times. Parents are welcome to wait for their children in the café, which will be open for food and beverage purchases.

Pre-registration is required and youth are expected to attend all three sessions of the cohort for which they are registered. Parents can register their children by calling the bookstore at (716) 823-2665. When signing up, please make sure to indicate the cohort your child will be attending.

Dog Ears Bookstore & Literary Art Center and South District Councilman Christopher Scanlon are teaming up to launch a leveled reader books giveaway program called Reading: Better Together at two events this month. 

The first giveaway will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. this Sunday, Aug. 23, at the South Buffalo Farmers’ Market in Cazenovia Park. A second event will take place from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 29, at the nonprofit bookstore, located at 688 Abbott Road in South Buffalo.

“In addition to the books, information and bookmarks will also be given to readers and parents to help promote comprehension and reading skills and techniques to enhance the reading process,” said Thomas McDonnell, executive director of the bookstore. 

Dog Ears has also launched a new YouTube channel with videos to accompany the information and help guide parents on their child’s reading journey. For more information, please visit

Dog Ears is also encouraging people attending either event to bring a nonperishable food item to support the South Buffalo Community Table.

Parents are becoming increasingly involved with their children’s at-home education due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Helping school age youth with their reading skills and comprehension can be a daunting task for parents and adult caregivers. Dog Ears Bookstore has scheduled free workshops for parents that will give participants useful and practical strategies to improve and enhance their child’s reading skills and ability.

The workshops target parents of youth who are in grades PreK – 8. Parents of those in PreK-1st grade will concentrate on tips and tricks for children who are “Learning To Read” while parents of students in 2nd-5th grades will learn how to help their child improve their “Reading To Learn” skills. Strategies to advance “Reading Skills For Different Content Areas” for youth in 6th-8th grades will also be covered. Each workshop will be targeted towards a specific grade group.

All sessions will be taught by literacy specialists and New York State-certified English Language Arts teachers. Instructors will guide parents on how to successfully work with their children to improve their reading comprehension through skill building. Parents will learn practical strategies to improve their child’s reading habits and ability, regardless of reading level. Participants will also receive helpful handouts to utilize at home and will have time during the sessions to ask questions.

Workshops will be held on the following dates:

• Tuesday, Aug. 25 (6th-8th Grade)

• Thursday, Sept. 10 (6th-8th Grade)

• Saturday, Sept. 12 (2nd-5th Grade)

• Tuesday, Sept. 15 (2nd–5th Grade)

• Thursday, Sept. 24 (PreK – 1st Grade)

• Saturday, Sept. 26 (PreK – 1st Grade)

Tuesday and Thursday sessions will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. and Saturday sessions will take place from 9 to 11 a.m. All sessions will take place at Dog Ears Bookstore, which is located at 688 Abbott Road, Buffalo (near Mercy Hospital). Sessions will be held upstairs of the bookstore (enter through the front entrance). All COVID protocols must be followed including social distancing and mask wearing. The Café will be open for food and beverage purchases during the Saturday sessions only.

Workshops are for parents only and child care will not be provided. Each workshop will be offered twice for each grade level although parents only need to attend one session as both sessions will cover the same content. The free workshops are made possible through funding by the Erie County Youth Bureau.

Spaces are limited and pre-registration is required. Parents can sign up by calling the Bookstore at (716) 823-2665. 

Dog Ears Bookstore & Café, South Buffalo’s nonprofit community bookstore, would like to thank the following sponsors of their annual Kids “I Read It” Run held on Sept. 29 in Cazenovia Park: Imperial Pizza, Farrell Financial, Overdorf Insurance, The Browne Company (Orchard Park), Heads and Tales Salon, and South District Councilman Christopher Scanlon. 

Additionally, Dog Ears would like to thank Baker & Taylor book distributor for donating and encouraging other companies to contribute more than 500 books!

Races were held in four age categories: Under 4, 4 and 5, 6 and 7, and 8 through 10. There were prizes and surprises for all participants!

Dog Ears Bookstore & Café is located at 688 Abbott Road in South Buffalo. For more information, please call 823-2665. You can also follow Dog Ears Bookstore on Facebook for frequent updates.

Years in the making, a children’s book written by Tom McDonnell, executive director of Dog Ears Bookstore & Café, will be officially released during an event at the South Buffalo bookstore from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 4.

“Monster in the Morning,” illustrated by Hamburg resident Robert A. Wright and published by RPSS Publishing, will be available for $16.95 (plus tax) in hardcover and just $10.95 for the softcover version.

“Monster in the Morning is about the hectic morning routine in every house in America,” said McDonnell, a West Seneca resident. “It is my childhood recollection of how mornings in our house worked before mom had her favorite drink (coffee). This wild tale is inspired by the most wonderful women in my life, and a green bathrobe where money grew and Kleenex just magically appeared. The illustrations genuinely make the story come to life!”

McDonnell will do readings of the book at 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. during the May 4 event.

For more information on the nonprofit community bookstore, located at 688 Abbott Road, please visit

We would like to thank Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz and Erie County for their ongoing support of the arts in WNY, including programs offered here at Dog Ears Bookstore. Please know that your support is greatly appreciated!