Listening Dogs Help Kids Learn to Read
Jan 9th, 2013 by Autumn Sunshine
Eight-year-old Sammy loves reading aloud to Fawn. That’s because Fawn doesn’t ask annoying questions or criticize the youngster’s pronunciation. Mostly he wags his tail and pricks up an ear.
Fawn is a golden retriever.
The idea of “listening dogs” began in Salt Lake City, Utah, back in 1999, part of an organization called Reading Education Assistance Dogs (R.E.A.D.) Since then, more than 3,000 dog therapy teams across the globe have trained and registered with the program
From R.E.A.D.’s website
The Reading Education Assistance Dogs (R.E.A.D.) program improves children’s reading and communication skills by employing a powerful method: reading to an animal. But not just any animal. R.E.A.D. companions are registered therapy animals who volunteer with their owner/handlers as a team, going to schools, libraries and many other settings as reading companions for children.
R.E.A.D. is the first and foremost program that utilizes therapy animals to help kids improve their reading and communication skills and also teaches them to love books and reading.
What do you think?
Hmmmm, to me it’s a super idea. Making reading fun for kids, not making it something the “must” struggle through. What’s your thought on this? This sure have changed since I learned to read 😉
There are other benefits for the kids too, including lowering of blood pressure and heart rate, increased relaxation, and a tendency to forget about pain and limitations. When children get nervous, their blood pressure can rise very high, but studies have found that if a dog joins the scene, blood pressure will go down, whether the child and dog are just sitting together or the child is reading to the dog.
Therapy dogs receive five months of training. Not all dogs should apply for the job, however, and especially not the ones that bite or growl. Greyhounds are particularly well-suited because they do not bark and have a short coat that is less likely to trigger allergies.