We all know the saying, that dogs are man’s best friend, but the latest research shows our canines may just be the perfect reading partner, and are able to support our children in their literary development. This new research conducted in the US shows our trusty four-legged friends lending a paw again, and this time to those less confident or able children in schools! Scientific Nutritional Products takes a look…
Issues around children learning to read are rarely out of the news. Which is hardly surprising – becoming a successful reader is of paramount importance in improving a child’s life chances. Keith Stanovich, a literacy scholar, wrote a widely cited paper in 1986, describing the downward spiral that impacts upon lack of reading ability and then, according to Stanovich, on kids’ cognitive capability.
Underachievement in groups of children in the UK is recognised in international studies – and successive governments have sought to address the issues in a range of ways. Reading to dogs, so far, has not been among them; but it’s time to look at the strategy more seriously!
Many children naturally enjoy reading, but if they are struggling, their confidence can quickly diminish – and with it their motivation. This sets in motion the destructive cycle, whereby reading ability fails to improve. We were pleased to hear that Hannah Earnshaw, a probationary teacher, is piloting a reading scheme at Crown Primary School in Scotland, where kids say they feel relaxed and enjoy books more when reading them to canines Blue and Morna!
So, how can dogs help?
1.) Our dogs offer a therapeutic and calming effect on the people present, and this is already well known; hence the use of Pets as Therapy (PATS), which sees our canine friends make visits to hospitals, and the like. Therefore if a child feels pressured in a school environment, the dog’s presence instantly makes atmosphere feel more relaxed.
2.) Dogs provide a loyal listener, and this can build confidence and rediscover a motivation for the child. A dog is a reassuring, uncritical audience who will not mind if mistakes are made. Children can read to the dog, uninterrupted; comments will not be made. Errors can be addressed in other contexts at other times.
3.) This positive experience of reading with a dog can help children who are struggling to reconnect with the pleasure of reading.
The topic needs more research, but here at Scientific Nutritional Products we think it is a round of applause for our dogs - yet again proving they really are man’s best friend!
The BBC’s coverage of the recent pilot scheme involving children reading to dogs in Scotland may be seen HERE.
To view our range of Horse Supplements and Dog Joint Supplements including our bestselling Canine Joint Right providing Glucosamine for Dogs visit our website www.horsesupplementsdirect.co.uk or Tel: 01377 254900 to speak to the team at Scientific Nutritional Products. Visit the website or our Facebook page to keep up with our informative, weekly blog looking at a range of equine and canine issues.
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