Why read to a dog?
Animals are ideal reading companions because they:
* help increase relaxation and lower blood pressure
* listen attentively
* do not judge, laugh or criticize
* allow children to proceed at their own pace
* are less intimidating than peers
When a dog is "listening" fear of failure is removed allowing a child to learn more effectively. The dog's handler is a skilled facilitator who provides subtle support without creating performance pressure in the child.
Results are significant
Participating kids make enormous strides in reading ability with measurable increases in vocabulary, comprehension, and general fluency as a reader. This increase in reading ability goes hand in hand with an improvement in communication skills which in turn foster self-esteem, confidence, and enhanced social skills.
Introducing, our reading therapy dogs!
From the R.E.A.D. Manual:
"All the dogs are a registered, and tested therapy animal. This means they have been screened for skills and temperament, health and cleanliness, good manners and attitude. They are animals who people can't resist approaching; they inspire confidence and trust in the people around them. They are calm and reliable, obedient, and impeccably groomed to be attractive and fun to touch and stroke. They enjoy children, and like curling up on the floor with them to hear stories."
"What about Allergies? Therapy animals are scrupulously clean and well-groomed before each sesson, which helps. Many therapy dogs are treated with a dander remover product and body deodorizer before they volunteer. If a child suffers from severe allergies or asthma, reading with a dog might not be appropriate or enjoyable."