Image Credit: Publicdomainpictures.net/
Can reading to a dog improve the reading levels of children? According to recent studies on the subject, the reading score of young students can increase dramatically – two to four grade levels – by reading out loud to a dog for just twenty minutes every week through the school year.It is estimated that there are 32 million illiterate adults in the US. 40 percent of children in the fourth grade read below their grade level and children who haven't mastered reading by the time they are in the third grade stand the risk of falling behind.It was observed that children who read out aloud to dogs
have less absenteeism, go to the library more regularly, and show improved performance on their report cards. Moreover, children who have low self-esteem are more willing to interact with a dog or any other animal for that matter, than they are with another person. Pets can also teach compassion and empathy to kids.Getting children excited about reading
Since Victorian times, there have been a lot of depictions of people reading to their dogs. Many adults admit that they used to hide in their closet and read to their dog as a child. All signs point to the fact that children are very eager to read to a dog. This means that parents do not have to wait for a program like R.E.A.D (Reading Education Assistance Dogs) to come to their kid's school. They can try the technique of having their kid read to a dog at home, as long as the canine is trained to stay calm for at least twenty minutes.Dog days
Many schools have visitation programs designed to bring in trained therapy dog as a way to encourage children reading, but the practice is still rare. Less than five thousand children have participated in the R.E.A.D program since it began.When kids were asked to read out loud under three conditions (to an adult, to a peer, and to a therapy dog), it was observed that the presence of a therapy dog
significantly reduced the heart rate and blood pressure of children to normal levels and lessened other observable signs of anxiety. Working with animals is an extremely effective solution for students who have disruptive behaviors, attention difficulties or a lack of interest in reading. The children learn that they are capable of being productive.Game plan
It is advisable to set aside at least twenty minutes every week for struggling readers to practice reading out loud to a dog. With approximately 40 weeks of school days, this works up to fourteen hours of supervised reading. Enjoying the process is the key since readers with low ability learn better when they are reading for fun.