Kids Who Read to Dogs are Better Students

Filed under: In The News

dog

Dog, Simon, prefers television to books. Credit: Jessica Samakow

What sort of books do you suppose dogs like?

Puppies might go for "Go, Dog. Go!" or the Clifford series, while older dogs might prefer "Old Yeller." (Spoiler alert: The ending is a bit of a downer.)

Mystery lovers would go for "The Hound of the Baskervilles," while macho types would enjoy "The Call of the Wild." If your dog likes "Cujo," you might want to think about swapping him in for some goldfish.

Whatever your dog's literary tastes, researchers at the University of California say it's a good idea for your kids to read to him. Kids who read to dogs apparently score higher on reading tests, and researchers say dogs help take the pressure off children learning to read.

It makes sense, librarian Julie Karell of Arlington, Va., tells the Washington Examiner.

"The benefit of the dogs is they're truly a nonjudgmental audience," she says. "They're loving and accepting. If the kids mess up a word, the dogs don't care."

Karell organizes Paws to Read, a bimonthly program at her library. The idea is catching on.

Librarians in Montgomery, Pa., work with a group called Comfort Caring Canines to offer their Read to Dogs program. Four therapy dogs -- Abbey, Astro, Samantha and Myszka -- snuggle up with kids for a little quality reading time.

"The dogs seem to enjoy it," Samantha's owner Robert Dettery tells the Montgomery News. "This is a change of pace. Kids are more energetic."

Julie Kulikowski, who started a reading to dogs program at several District of Columbia libraries, agrees.

"It doesn't feel like work. It's fun. It's good for reluctant readers," she tells the Examiner.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.