On March 1st of each year, we celebrate “Read Across America Day.” Started in 1998 by the National Education Association to promote a love of reading, this celebration coincides with the birthday of children’s author Dr. Seuss. What does this have to do with dogs, you may wonder? Well, imagine walking into an elementary school classroom to find youngsters sitting quietly with a book in their lap, reading to…a dog. This is exactly the scene in many locations in schools and libraries across the country, as programs such as “Reading with Rover” and “Sit-Stay-Read” use trained therapy dogs to help children develop reading skills. The role of the dog is that of a good listener, while the child “relaxes, pats the attentive dog, and focuses on the reading.” Studies conducted by Tufts University and other organizations show an improvement in communication skills, a boost in ability and desire to read, as well as an increase in reading scores. Looks like dogs are a part of our lives and are a “low-tech” solution to some of our biggest problems in life. We salute dogs as we read and enjoy the wonder of a good book. Guest blogger Michele Fournier
Moisse, Katie. (August 12, 2011). “Dogs have a New Trick: Helping Kids to Read.”
R.E.A.D., Reading Education Assistance Dogs Program. Intermountain Therapy Animals: Pets Helping People.
“Reading with Rover”–Research and Results.
“Paws for People” at Tufts University.