Dogs Helping Children to Read?
As much as we love our dogs, and as smart as we know they are, it is difficult to believe that they can help our children learn to read. But before you dismiss the concept as ridiculous, keep reading.
According to an article by Anita Stone in The Bark, thanks to some innovative programs and patient doggies, children are becoming better readers:
Reading Education Assistance Dogs (READ) was among the first to use “reading dogs” in the classroom. Launched in November 1999 by Utah-based Intermountain Therapy Animals, the program was introduced in a Salt Lake City library (where it continues to be available to both children and adults), and a year later, successfully moved into the school system. READ dogs are trained, registered and certified therapy animals who serve as classroom reading tutors, assisting children with their quiet presence and helping them develop a love of reading. Currently, 1,300 therapy teams are working their magic in schools and libraries. “We were the first to put a model around the idea, to improve reading and communication skills and to build the love of books among children that will last forever. It is priceless to see the eager faces of enthusiasm of young children reading to their therapy dogs,” says Kathy Klotz, READ’s executive director.
Several different breeds of dogs have been trained to help children learn to read.
With a dog as an attentive, non-judgmental audience, a child is often more eager to teach herself or himself to read. So if you think dogs can’t help children learn to read, think again.