5 Benefits of Reading to Dogs

Pets as Therapy dog
Category: Reading

We're running a Pets Reading photo competition as part of Book Week Scotland, because what's not funny about a photo of an animal reading a book?

But in all seriousness, there's an element to reading with animals that can actually be very therepeutic and beneficial, as we found out from the good folks at Pets As Therapy. They run a programme called Read2Dogs, which pairs children who need support with their reading with temperament assessed PAT dogs that they read to.

Sounds funny? Here's PAT's five reasons why it's so beneficial:

  1. Dogs are non-judgemental so children are less self-conscious
  2. Most children have a natural affinity and bond with dogs
  3. Children are allowed to improve their reading skills in a fun relaxed atmosphere
  4. Results show that it decreases stress over reading aloud in class
  5. It can enhance self-esteem, motivate speech and build confidence

Pets As Therapy has over 450 PAT dogs involved in Read2Dogs programmes around the UK - here's what one teacher had to say about their school's participation in the programme:

"Our PAT dog has changed the lives of four children who see him on a weekly basis. All of the children have special educational needs and one particular child has severe speech and language difficulties. 

We call the session ‘Henry Time’. It is a structured session beginning with the children sharing their news; then showing Henry their work and ending with each child reading their book. Throughout the session Henry listens intently, looks at each child while they are reading and occasionally seeks attention by lying on his back to ask for a tickle.   

These sessions have made a huge difference. It has encouraged each child to produce good work in the week so that they can show Henry. It has increased their confidence and given them a purpose and opportunity to enjoy reading.

The children consider Henry as a friend and genuinely look forward to seeing him each week. At the end of each session the children give Henry a sticker and come bounding out with a spring in their step, keener to learn. The Class Teachers, Learning Support Assistants and Speech Therapist all agree that there is a marked improvement in each child after their PAT dog experience."

Find out more about Read2Dogs at the Pets As Therapy website here.

Check out our Pets Reading gallery of competition entries so far on Facebook.

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