Thanks to a Washington State librarian, kids are improving their reading skills with the help of some unconventional yet highly receptive tutors: dogs.
Image courtesy of ParentMap
MieMie Wu, a librarian in Bothell, Washington, was inspired to start the program, Reading with Rover, after hearing about R.E.A.D. (Reading Education Assistance Dogs), a Utah-based program in which children gained literacy and self-esteem by practicing out loud to canine friends. After its initial success, Reading with Rover has spread to six Washington school districts in the Puget Sound area while also holding reading sessions at libraries and bookstores throughout the Northwest.
Image courtesy of Seattle’s Child
The magic of Reading with Rover lies in the simple but powerful presence of its pooches; as multiple studies have shown, reading to dogs can help young readers maintain their reading levels and even lower blood pressure. And, of course, there is the obvious fact that dogs are, well, the best: “Kids are more excited about reading because reading to a dog is more fun,” Reading with Rover proclaims; Unlike “pesky parents” and teachers, no pup interrupts or corrects his young reader. Along with helping children with reading specifically, the Reading with Rover is also geared to helping children with emotional difficulties or who have been labeled “at-risk.”
Image courtesy of Shoreline Area News
Parents are showering the program with praise. “I would recommend this program to any parent whether their child loves to read or not, it is just a great experience all around,” said Eve P., the mother of a daughter with a learning disorder. “My son will read almost any kind of book during Reading with Rover, and he wants to read for the entire hour!” said another happy parent.
One can only hope that dog book clubs are right around the corner.
Featured image courtesy of ParentMap