“Tail Waggin’ Tutors”
TDI’S READING PROGRAM
Children Reading to Dogs
PROGRAM GOAL AND OBJECTIVE:
The main objective of this program is to provide a relaxed and “dog-friendly” atmosphere, which allows students to practice the skill of reading. Many of the children chosen for this program have difficulties reading and as a result have developed self-esteem issues. They are often self-conscious when reading aloud in front of other classmates.
By sitting down next to a dog and reading to the dog, all threats of being judged are put aside. The child relaxes, pats the attentive dog, and focuses on the reading. Reading improves because the child is practicing the skill of reading, building self-esteem, and associating reading with something pleasant. As one child on the DVD says, “It’s pretty fun!”
BENEFITS OF PROGRAM:
As we have stated, improving the child’s skill of reading is the major benefit of the program. But, there are many more positives that arise from this activity. The school principal featured in the DVD, states that it is a “great opportunity for students”, and that “children flourished, with reading scores going up.”
A Handler in the DVD points out that it “builds excitement about reading.” Indeed, many children talk about going home and reading to their own dog, or other pet. What better way to improve a skill than to practice the skill!
Another benefit is the joy children get from being around a dog. Most children just seem to naturally love animals, and especially dogs. Imagine the positive motivation this gives to the child as they sit by, read to, and pat a calm and gentle dog.
Unfortunately, not all children are comfortable around dogs. Some children that have not had an opportunity to be with dogs have a fear of them. As a child interacts with a TDI dog, they develop a better understanding of a dog.
This program is of course, geared to helping the children. But, there are benefits for handlers, too. It gives people an opportunity to give back to the community. By helping children become better readers, TDI Volunteers are helping them to become better students, and in the future, more productive citizens.