Assessed by: Canine Concern
Age: 5 years old
Likes: Chasing after birds and squirrels
(she never catches them!)
Crofton Care Dog - Daisy Fact File
Did you know?
A Cavachon is a mixed breed dog –a cross between the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and Bichon Frise
Reading to Care Dogs can boost reading skills in children as well as help with their emotional and social skills.
- Reading to dogs gives children essential extra practice with reading and oral skills.
- Some children feel that reading becomes less difficult when reading to a dog and are more willing to read aloud at school.
- Reading to dogs has motivated some children to start reading more at home, especially to their pets.
- Children want to try reading more difficult books as they go through the reading to dogs’ program.
- Kids feel more confident when answering reading related questions.
- Research studies have shown that reading fluency can increase after participating in a ‘reading to dogs’ program.
- Children enjoy being with and reading with dogs and think it’s fun! They look forward to coming to the office because a dog is waiting for them.
- Children feel comfortable reading to dogs because dogs don't judge if a word is mispronounced.
- The process of petting dogs can help with motor skills and is also known to be a calming factor that can reduce stress, blood pressure, and anxiety.
- Some children feel nervous when reading aloud and reading with a dog immediately calms them down.
- Children feel safe when sitting with a dog.
- Reading to dogs boosts the confidence levels of struggling readers and gives children an increased sense of pride.
- A child can feel like a leader by turning the book toward the dog, reading aloud, and pretending they are the teacher.
- Children feel a sense of accomplishment by reading an entire page or even a whole book.
- If a child has experienced a recent loss of a family member or pet, reading to a dog can help bring them comfort.
- Children learn to take turns while waiting for their chance to read to the dog.
- Children can learn kindness and empathy by petting the dogs, cuddling with them, and bringing them treats.
- Communication skills can be improved by practicing reading aloud.
- Participants enjoy talking with each other and sharing books they have read.
Concrete research data showing that the ‘Reading to Dogs’ programme actually helps children improve their reading skills. Although we know of the many social and emotional benefits that dogs give to young readers, the research studies detailed show how reading skills increased for participants enrolled in the ‘Reading to Dogs’ programmes. The Kennel Club officially recognises canine Concern’s Read to Dogs Programme.
Reading to Dogs Studies
University of California - Davis Study
In 2010, the University of California - Davis Veterinary Medicine Extension conducted a study to find out if reading to dogs could really improve reading skills in children. They had noticed that there was not a lot of research that had been done on the topic, other than testimonials from children, parents, librarians, and teachers. They worked with Tony LaRussa's Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) to test and evaluate ARF's All Ears Reading Program.
Studies were conducted with a group of third grade students at an elementary school and also a group of home-schooled children. The program lasted for ten weeks and the children read to the dogs once a week for approximately fifteen minutes, after having a few minutes to sit with the dog. Two UC-Davis undergraduates who were trained to work with animals supervised the sessions.
In order to evaluate the readers, the Oral Text Reading for Comprehension Test was administered before and after the ten-week session to evaluate reading fluency. In the school setting, the readers improved their fluency by 12%, while the control students did not increase their fluency at all over the same time period. Overall, the home-schooled readers increased their fluency by 30%.
Qualitatively, the participants in the program believed it was a huge success. Before the program started, many of the young readers didn't feel good about reading aloud. Afterwards, they felt more confident in their reading skills and also felt safe when reading to a dog. Their opinions of reading changed from feeling uncomfortable and self-conscience before the program to proclaiming that reading was much more enjoyable for them now.
Analysis and Evaluation of Sit Stay Read Program
In 2009, Corinne Serra Smith, a doctoral student at National-Louis University, wrote her dissertation on the effectiveness of Sit Stay Read, a reading to dog’s program being used in select under-privileged Chicago Public School classrooms. Her goal was to measure if oral reading fluency increased in a group of 152 second grade students compared to 98 students who did not participate in the program. Her research showed an oral reading fluency increase of 20% over the control group, which confirms the effectiveness of the program. Qualitative results were also measured which proved the program's success with both teachers and students. Teachers felt that Sit Stay Read was enjoyable for the students and also that the children were calmer with the dogs present. They thought that the dogs were wonderful listeners for the readers and helped them feel good about themselves. Students also loved the program because they felt that it was fun and helped them to really enjoy reading.