Well, here’s a study conducted purely to pander to the book internet: Researchers in the psychology department at St. Mary’s University in Calgary found that seven to eight year olds who read out loud to therapy dogs for fifteen minutes every week over an eight-week period saw greater improvement in their literacy scores.
The children in the study were paired with both adult volunteers alone and with dogs (whose adult handlers provided support in the form of encouragement and word identification when needed). After the sessions, the young readers were asked how they felt, and those who read to the dogs “seemed to be more enthusiastic and motivated.”
According to the research team, “We found that while reading improved in both conditions, the canine-assisted reading support contributed to greater gains in both oral reading and reading comprehension scores than did the adult-assisted intervention.”
That dogs are excellent, nonjudgmental listeners won’t be surprising to most of us, but I look forward to countless kids using this study as the crux of their “Why We Should Get a Puppy” presentation to their parents.
[via Psychology Today]