MY DOG THE THERAPIST: Why Children Should Read To Dogs

Previously I published the first My Dog The Therapist segment, where I talked about How Icy Became a Therapy Dog.  Now I'll share with you one of the programs she participates in, a program where children read out loud to dogs!  Sounds weird, right?  Believe it or not, this helps improve a child's reading skills and is particularly beneficial to kids that struggle with reading.

Icy is resting after one of the children's reading program sessions at a local library.

I was always a book worm and loved reading as a child, so a reading program where kids read out loud to dogs to improve their reading skills was right up my alley!  It sounded a little unconventional, but when I researched it more I learned that:

> Reading aloud helps children improve their reading skills significantly.

> Reading to dogs can help a child build confidence without fear of judgment or embarrassment by parents, teachers or other kids. 

> The Dogs help motivate reluctant readers who don’t like to read, or are afraid they won’t read well. 

Reading programs can take place at libraries, schools, bookstores, hospitals, even homeless shelters.

Icy in the library Community Room, waiting for the kids reading program to start. 

Here are some compelling and disturbing facts about literacy in the U.S.:

> Over 40 million adults in the U.S. don't read well enough to read a simple story to a child.  How shocking is that?!

> Nearly half of the nation's unemployed youth aged 16-21 are functional illiterate, and will have little to no job prospects.

> Children who haven't developed basic literacy skills by the time they enter school are 3 to 4 times more likely to drop out later.

> 60% of American prison inmates and 85% of juvenile offenders have  reading problems.  That is a pretty scary statistic!

Fact Sources 2014:  US Dept. of Education & US Dept. of Health & Human Services

Icy and I participate in reading programs in public libraries. Usually there are 3 Therapy Dogs. Over about an hour, each child gets 15 minutes to sit with the dog of their choice and read a book of their choosing. The kids love it and so do the dogs! Kids get a kick out of seeing a "snowdog" at the library.  They love when Icy's expression shows that she's enjoying their reading and the book they chose to read to her!  Sometimes she's so relaxed she even closes her eyes and dozes off a bit.


Some of the kids have never owned a dog, so it's a real treat to spend time with a dog.  The funniest thing is that sometimes the parents enjoy it even more than the kids, petting the dogs and asking questions about them while their child is reading!   

Afterwards, I take Icy home and give her a nice big Kong bone filled with peanut butter or a special chew stick! It's so much fun and rewarding, we love the children reading to dogs program!

 "To learn to read is to light a fire;
every syllable that is spelled out is a spark"
- Victor Hugo, Les Miserables

What do you think about a reading program where kids read out loud to dogs?  Leave us a comment, we love hearing from you!


The Diamond Dogs said...

We think those reading programs are great! It's so awesome that you and Isis participate in them-you are helping many kids find their confidence and their voices =)

Seville at Nerissa's Life said...

That sounds like a WONDERFUL program. Bet it would work with cats, too.


Unknown said...

That is so amazing!!!! Well done Isis!!!
ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

Rascal and Rocco said...

Such a great program! I know our library does that & I will take be taking my kids ~Rascal and Rocco

Life with Dogs and Cats said...

They have programs like that near us. If I had the time, I'd be bringing my pups so the kids can read to them.

Wags (and purrs) from Life with Dogs and Cats

Anonymous said...

Awesome job. Such a great program!
Much love Isis for helping the kids !!!!

Unknown said...

I love these reading programs! Great cuddling time for the dogs, and such an amazing way to motivate kids to read! Great post :)

Unknown said...

That is awesome! I think it's a great idea!

Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them said...

Thank you Tiffany, we really do enjoy it. Thanks for stopping by!

Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them said...

Oh absolutely! There are many wonderful therapy cats that visit children, seniors, and Veterans. There is even a therapy Llama that we know of!

Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them said...

Thank you Jenna! And thanks for stopping by!

Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them said...

I'm so glad! It really is a fun program that encourages kids to go to the library and to read more. Hope your kids have fun! Thanks for visiting our blog.

Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them said...

I'll be you & your pups would be a great addition to the program! Many reading programs are just a few weeks long, and you don't have to go every week. There are usually some who go each week and others who rotate out as they have the time. Maybe you can do a guest appearance once or twice at a library or school.

Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them said...

Thanks Suzanne! Yes, it is a great program. I'm really proud of Isis, she's so good w/ the kids. She gets lots of love from the kids - and the parents too!

Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them said...

I love the reading programs too, it's my favorite thing to participate in. And Isis loves kids! They don't mind if she licks their faces off - LOL!! Thanks for stopping by

Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them said...

Thanks Lisa! I love the idea as well. Thanks for stopping by!

M. K. Clinton said...

Before deciding to plunge into the world of indie author, I worked in a high school library. Reading is so underrated by students. Thanks for making it more enjoyable to them as children. It will make such a difference when these kids get older. ♥

Anonymous said...

Wow, I didn't know all of those facts about illiteracy! How wonderful that your Isis can be a part of changing kid's lives like that!!

What a beautiful girl Isis is! Love her coloring.
♥ Behr Behr :)

Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them said...

How fabulous that you worked in a HS library. It really is underrated, especially w/ all the online games and other stuff to take them away from reading. I hope it does make a difference to some of the kids! Thanks for your input on this and for stopping by M. K.!

Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them said...

Thanks Behr, Behr! I know, it shocked me that there could still be this kind of illiteracy in America in this day & age! It's actually kind of scary; if you can't read, how do you earn a good living? Thanks for stopping by the blog today.

Post a Comment