Here’s How Your Dog May Be the Key to Getting Your Kids to Read More

Even if the book is about cats, your dog is a great reading partner.

By: Amanda Mushro
little girl cudding her dog whilst reading from her story book .

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little girl cudding her dog whilst reading from her story book .

Photo by: sturti

sturti

If you are hoping to get your kids to read more, the motivation to turn a few more pages pages might have less to do with the characters in the book and more to do with their reading partner—that is, if their reading partner is a dog.

According to a new study from The University of British Columbia, children are more motivated to read longer and persevere through moderately challenging passages when they are reading to a dog. So basically, your pooch is not only man’s best friend but a parent’s best friend when it comes to getting their kids to log some serious reading time.

For the study, researchers worked with 17 children who were all in grades first through third. Before the study, each child’s reading level was tested and, to make the reading task a bit challenging for the kids, they were all given texts that were slightly above their reading level.

Kids were first asked to read to an observer and then asked to read while in the presence of a dog. After the kids were finished reading, they were given a choice: read another text or be finished. Researchers found that more kids chose to keep reading when accompanied by a pup.

“The findings showed that children spent significantly more time reading and showed more persistence when a dog—regardless of breed or age—was in the room as opposed to when they read without them,” said Camille Rousseau, who led the study. “In addition, the children reported feeling more interested and more competent.”

While the use of therapy dogs is becoming more popular for school aged children, Rousseau believes their research could help “to develop a ‘gold-standard’ for canine-assisted intervention strategies for struggling young readers.”

She added, “There have been studies that looked at the impact of therapy dogs on enhancing students’ reading abilities, but this was the first study that carefully selected and assigned challenging reading to children.”

So, when it’s time for your kids to read, why not try inviting your dog to the reading session? A few doggy cuddles could mean more chapters accomplished by your little one.

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