When was the last time you curled up with a good book? Now, when was the last time you read that book to your dog?
Most people would answer that they hardly ever or have never read to their dog. The exciting thing is that reading to your dog may be beneficial, especially for children.
Today we are going to take a look at why you should let your kid read to your dog. Keep reading below to learn more.
Why You Should Let Your Kid Read to Your Dog
There are a whole bunch of reasons why you should consider having your child read to your dog. The biggest reason is to promote confidence.
Think about when you were a child in school. Most students who were already good readers likely were willing to participate in classroom reading. The teacher might call on the most enthusiastic students to read specific passages.
Then there were the students who were not the best readers. These students would sink into their desks while the teacher would choose the next reader. Less enthusiastic readers would be ashamed or embarrassed by their difficulty. Or they might hate having to sound out more significant words.
This embarrassment can turn into shame, and at worst, it would turn to anger. How many adults do you know who told you they stopped doing something because it was “too hard.” If an adult can have that attitude, it makes sense that a child can feel the same way.
The judgment that comes along with struggling to read to others can turn a child off from reading for a lifetime. One of the best parts about reading to a dog is that it can be a real confidence builder.
Confidence from Reading to a Dog
That anxiety that comes from reading to a teacher or peers can be terrible. But one of the biggest benefits of reading to animals is that this specific anxiety falls away.
Children know that a dog is not going to judge the child if they mispronounce a word or take a long time to sound it out. Because children can relax and just practice reading, they seem to gain reading fluency much easier.
While you might question just how good reading to a dog can be, there have been studies that prove the benefits.
In 2009, a doctoral student from National-Lewis University set out to see if reading to dogs benefits the readers. The researcher followed students who participated in a program called Sit, Stay, Read. This program put dogs in the classrooms of underprivileged students in Chicago Public Schools. Students who participated in the program improved their reading fluency twenty percent when compared to their peers who did not participate in the program.
However, one point to note is that students who were involved in this study did not report wanting to go to school more than their peers. Having dogs in the classroom still isn’t enough to make kids want to go to school.
Benefits of Reading to Dogs
When these students were asked about what they liked about the Sit, Stay, Read program, they had these responses:
- Reading to the dog
- Talking, reading, writing, and learning about dogs
- Making a book
- Having dogs in the classroom
- Having guest readers
Even the adult teachers involved with the Sit, Stay, Read program were impressed by the results that were achieved. One such teacher noted, “I was a skeptic at first. When I was told I’d lose an hour a week, I couldn’t wrap my head around it […] But I saw how organized it is and the kids caught on to it very quickly and really got excited about reading.”
Not only did reading to dogs help the students, but teachers were also enthusiastic about the program once it came to an end. The teachers saw real value in their students reading to dogs.
Even if you do not have a dog, programs exist that will help you find one. One organization called R.E.A.D can provide trained therapy dogs for children to experience the benefits of reading to dogs.
Time and time again, reading has been linked to intelligence and success. It seems that the more a person reads, the stronger their mind grows. Therefore, it’s so important to have children read at as early an age as possible.
Reading to a dog can be one tool to help even struggling readers to gain skills that will benefit them for a lifetime.