While reading is a fundamental subject that every child should learn, it can be difficult. That�s why kids all over the country have been turning to some unlikely tutors to help improve their skills � dogs.
It�s been proven that children who read aloud to dogs on a regular basis show drastic improvement in their reading comprehension skills. The animals provide a safe, non-judgmental space for struggling readers, which helps to boost children�s confidence and pride in their reading skills. It also helps the animals to connect with humans and have positive social interactions.
Organizations like Reading Paws have been around for years now, and they play a vital role in getting communities involved in programs that connect children with animals in different environments.
A recent program that was introduced at the Ingham County Animal Control and Shelter in Michigan has had overwhelming success. They invite children to read to the animals at the shelter, and their first few sessions filled up within minutes. Children can bring their own books, or they can choose from the selection at the shelter.
�The shelter environment can be overwhelming for many pets, we have found reading to our residents reduces anxiety and creates a calming environment,� a representative for the shelter wrote in a Facebook post.
(Source: Ingham County Animal Control and Shelter Facebook)
Other Reading Paws programs recruit children to read to therapy animals at local libraries and schools. These programs are especially useful for children who are new to the country and are learning to speak English.
Yun-Jung Uhm and her family recently moved to Nashville, TN. She says her family has been taking advantage of a program at their local library where her children get to read to therapy dogs. �It brought them some confidence,� she told News Channel 5. �They now say, �yes, I can read in English!��
Reading Paws also partners with hospitals to help reduce children�s stress levels when they�re waiting for appointments. The children can pick from a mobile cart of books and cuddle up with a dog to read in outpatient waiting rooms.
�There are so many emotions going on when children come to the outpatient clinics,� Pam Edyburn, a family resource coordinator at Nemours Children�s Hospital in Orlando, told WKMG News. �With the research, it shows that it reduced [the children�s] anxiety, and it�s also a non-judgmental way for them to increase their literacy skills.�
To find out more about Reading Paws and see if there�s a resource available in your community, check out the organization�s website and Facebook page. If there aren�t any programs close to you, why not reach out and see how you can bring Reading Paws to your town?
Let�s #StartSomethingGood together.
(Source: images Reading Paws Facebook)