How reading to dogs can benefit children.
In recent months children have had to do a lot more study at home and there’s still a lot of catching up to do, but there could be a potential teaching assistant very close to home – your loyal family dog! Sounds bonkers? Holidays4Dogs reveals all!
The ‘Bark and Read Foundation’ was set up by the UK’s Kennel Club Educational Trust as a way of helping children to foster a passion for reading. Specially trained support dogs are taken into schools, libraries and other social settings to help children learn to read and it’s a really a successful scheme which also gives children a sense of responsibility and boosts their confidence. There are several other schemes affiliated to the Bark and Read Foundation and all aim to help children with literacy and confidence issues.
When the children are reading their book, the idea is that they are reading to the dog, not the human volunteer. The children are not interrupted by the person, even if they get things wrong. This is a crucial part of the child learning to have an interest in reading and growing their confidence; not least because, the dog by their side is non-judgmental and has no idea, or care, whether the words are wrong or not! A person will naturally correct a child if they get it wrong; teachers may be visibly frustrated or impatient, whereas a dog is a carefree and willing companion whose silence on the matter works wonders for children’s confidence.
The dogs are not just attention grabbers; the aim is for the children to just enjoy reading to a dog, a reading companion who is not going to point out their errors or intervene. Many children report they feel much more comfortable reading with a dog present because they feel less self conscious or clumsy. Not surprisingly, having a dog in reading lessons also helps anxious children to feel more comfortable both in the school environment and at home.
As well as helping with the activity of reading in itself, children also gain more confidence in other areas of their learning within the school curriculum, as well as at home, even when there isn’t a dog present. In schools where dogs have been brought into classrooms it has been found that children become more motivated to read, more inclined to engage in lessons without the dogs and look forward to reading sessions.
If any of our Holidays4Dogs followers are interested in getting involved in the scheme as a volunteer you can contact 020 7518 1009 or e-mail the Kennel Club.