Recently, Rocky Dog and I visited our local Library to meet with some children and talk about the books they love to read.
Some children are reluctant to read out loud to someone because they fear they may be corrected. This can do a lot of damage to a child’s self-esteem, and their confidence in their own reading ability.
However, dogs don’t know if a child is reading well or not. They don’t understand anything about bad grammar or mispronounced words. For the most part, dogs are just happy to ‘be’ with people. And, what better place to ‘be’ then next to a child offering comfort and support while the child learns to read?
Why is Reading to Dogs Important?
At the library, Rocky made the children feel really comfortable. He lay quietly beside the children and listened as they read to him.
Rocky didn’t get up or walk around, and at one point rested his head on a little boy’s arm. He also licked a little girl’s arm which made her laugh.
This is something you can try at home. Reading to a pet dog will increase your child’s confidence in their own ability and will also provide them with more opportunities to read.
And, as teachers and parents we all know the more books children can access the better. Your dog can be used to practise reading out loud before your child has to read to a parent or a teacher.
Dogs, and pet therapy in general, are well known to reduce anxiety, blood pressure and even a person’s heart rate. The health benefits of having a pet close to you are widely recognised.
How To Make Sure Reading to Your Dog is a Success
Choose a quiet, comfortable area that the dog is used to. If you take the dog into a room where it hasn’t been before its curiosity may take over and you might find it is more interested in sniffing and exploring the area.
You would also be more successful if you use the dog’s bedding. This way the dog will feel much more comfortable.
It’s important that the child focuses solely on what he or she is doing. If they give the dog too much attention it may not settle. Also, if the dog is hungry or restless from lack of exercise you might have trouble getting it to sit still.Some dogs instinctively settle next to a child, but others may need a bit of encouragement.
While reading to the pet dog means a lot to most children, it shouldn’t replace a child’s teacher or parents. Nor should children be left alone with the dog for their own safety.
Children do need to learn how to read properly, and be encouraged to develop a love of reading. Allowing them to read to their pet dog is a great way to start this process, and grow a strong bond between the child and the dog.
About the Author – Susan Day
Susan Day is an author of 15 books, educator, and a content marketer. Her blog, Astro’s Adventures Book Club, is full of ideas and tips for grandparents who want to build a strong relationship with their grandchildren through reading and sharing books.
Susan lives in country Australia with four dogs, three boss cats, three rescue guinea pigs, and an errant kangaroo. And, apart from blogging, writing and reading; she loves drinking coffee, painting and learning to box.