What if you went to school tomorrow and the new teacher was a cute, fluffy doggy? Does that sound too silly to be true? Yes, that is a funny idea, but there really are some puppies that are very busy teaching kids how to read. Dogs can help kids learn to read because they are very good at listening. Dogs always wag their tails when someone talks to them because they love to hear your voice. They are the perfect friends to listen while you read your book out loud.
Corridor Therapy Dogs is the name of an organization that helps young readers by letting them spend time reading aloud to dogs and the dogs love it! So do the kids!
Sometimes the doggies are brought to a school during reading time and the children get to practice reading to the dogs. They even show the pictures to the dogs. I don’t know if the doggies really care about the pictures, but I do know they love to hear the kid’s voices talking and reading to them.
Some schools take their students to a local pet shelter and let the kids read to the dogs that are in cages waiting to be adopted. Staying in a shelter can be very sad and stressful for a dog. When a child comes in to read to them, it makes the puppies feel happy and not so alone and scared.
Of course you already know that if you want to get better at something, you have to practice. Practicing reading out loud would be kind of boring when you are alone in your room at home or your desk at school. But just imagine reading out loud to a cute puppy dog. Wouldn’t that be fun and make you smile?
Scientists have done studies proving that a very important chemical appears in both the child and the dog when they spend time together reading or playing. It is called by the big scientific word, “oxytocin”. This chemical helps everyone feel happy and calm. Oxytocin takes away sadness and stressful feelings. Who would have thought that just reading to a puppy could make a special chemical appear?
Corridor Therapy Dogs is a group that has teams set up to go to schools, hospitals and even libraries to help children learn to love reading. The doggies do not get paid for this fun job, but they do get lots and lots of extra hugs and kisses!
So, not only can a dog teach you to read better, you can make a dog feel better too, just by reading to them! Parents and teachers, view this short video how Corridor Therapy Dogs have enhanced children with special needs overcome their challenges with reading. Tony, Danny’s owner and handler, discuss how this has been a priceless journey for them both.
Children, have you ever seen a dog as a teacher? Or, did a dog ever teach to you? What do you think; think a dog will help you learn more? Parents and teachers, we would love to hear from you as well.
Susie is a freelance writer who has always had a dog as part of her family since childhood. Her current writing partner is Layla, a mixed breed Labrador and Cocker Spaniel. http://susieklein.wordpress.com/
Based in San Jose, Calif., animal lover Kelly Preston is an award winning author of Real Dogs Don’t Whisper, a book in which she talks about her experiences and adventures with her special needs dogs and the life lessons they have taught – how she has learned and grown from them and they have learned and grown from her. Preston also produces Mr.MaGoo’s Corner, a free monthly dog-focused newsletter that features a reader of the month, birthday announcements, green pet tips, organic dog recipes and more.