Having a dog is awesome
; they are great for companionship, rescue, and even rehabilitation
. They have a general calming effect on people. But surprise, surprise; reading to them is also gaining popularity as a technique of improving difficulties and concerns about children’s reading.
It’s simple. Reading to a dog is relaxing
; such domestic animal creates a safe environment. So, for children who are struggling, having a dog beside to read to is a reassuring. There have even been programs that encourage reading to dogs, such as READ or Reading Education Assistance Dogs
in the US and Bark and Read
supported by the Kennel Club in UK.
Why? Dogs are accepting audiences who will not mind if you make mistakes. You can read uninterrupted, knowing that the dog will not make any comments or reactions to you. This can make you feel motivated and more open to reading. Dogs can also specifically help children with dyslexia since they provide support to help these kids develop their understanding of the read words and letters (this can be very daunting to them).
Despite this growing popularity, however, there is still little research about it. One of the most recent is the 2016 study entitled “Children Reading to Dogs: A Systematic Review of the Literature,”
which showed some evidence for development in reading, but isn’t really that high. With this, the authors said, “the evidence suggests that reading to a dog may have a beneficial effect on a number of behavioural processes which contribute to a positive effect on the environment in which reading is practiced, leading to improved reading performance. However, the evidence base on which these inferences are made is of low quality.”
Further studies are clearly needed for this idea. But, well, as to Tony Nevett and his greyhound Danny’s case
, the thought sounds promising. Their involvement in a number of schools to motivate children to read as well as to promote general well-being and positive behavior among children provides hope to people!