When I first saw this event, my reaction was “you’ve got to be joking” I thought it was the epitome of an over precious pet owner taking the whole “furbaby” concept a step too far! However, when I clicked on the site I realised that it is an incredibly clever programme designed to help reluctant readers gain confidence in reading out loud.
This particular programme is is run by the Christchurch City Library service. It is
designed to provide a relaxed, non-threatening atmosphere which encourages children to practice their reading skills and develop a love of reading.
All the dogs are rescue-dogs owned by members of the Christchurch City Council Animal Control team. They
have all been trained and tested for health, safety and temperament.
This programme is held at various libraries throughout the city after school. Caregivers book a 15 minute block for their child to come and read out loud to the dog. The dogs are quietly supervised at all times by the trainer. The theory behind the programme is that the dogs:
– Can increase a child’s relaxation while reading
– Listen attentively
– Do not laugh, judge or criticise
– Allow children to proceed at their own pace
– Can be less intimidating than a child’s peers
Reading aloud is a vital part of a child learning to read. However, children with difficulties become nervous and flustered when reading in front of their cohort. It has been discovered that sitting and reading to a friendly dog, helps to dissipate a child’s fear of being judged or laughed at. Gradually, the child’s reading level and confidence improves and reading becomes a much more enjoyable experience.
Bravo to the Christchurch libraries for implementing this great programme. I have heard of it been used in schools who have remedial reading programmes too. I think it is amazing!
Yoroshiku Onegai shimasu