No, we're not talking about dogs who know how to read. This is about therapy dogs that help teach young children to read.
The dogs who do this job accompany their trained handlers to school and library programs that help children improve their reading skills. With the help of the dogs, reading programs of this kind can build children’s confidence in their own reading ability and help them learn to love reading.
How does it work? Because dogs do not use verbal language, they don’t criticize or ridicule a child’s efforts at reading. Instead, they are interested. They like being talked to and they like the quiet interaction with a seated person. Many dogs almost instinctively approach people who sit down, especially on the floor. It makes for a nurturing environment.
Children and dogs bond together over a shared story. The children's confidence and reading skills grow in a relaxing environment. It's that simple.
Rewarding the child for a session of work with the dog is easy, since a child who likes dogs will enjoy petting the dog or other loving interaction such as gentle hand-shaking. This touch provides an additional therapeutic benefit to the child.
Dogs obviously don’t teach reading, so an effective program will include skilled teachers. The dogs bring emotional benefits that can facilitate success in many stressful tasks, including therapy of various types, which is the reason for the term “therapy dogs.” Reading dogs fall under the therapy dog umbrella.
Trackposted to Big Dog's Weblog, The Amboy Times, Cao's Blog, and Adeline and Hazel, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.