Sunday, August 28, 2011

Tufts University study shows children improve, love reading more, if they read to a dog

By Mona Sabalones Gonzalez

For some time now, reading programs making use of dogs have been ongoing across the U.S. The results have been so strongly positive, that they continue to thrive.

Now, a new study from the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, measured the difference between reading to a dog, and reading to a human being. The dog won. The findings of the study showed that children improve better and more quickly when they read to a dog.

The study was conducted by Dawn Lenihan, a third-year veterinary student at Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. She was mentored by Dr. Lisa M. Freeman, who is also one of the authors of the study.

In the study, one group of second graders would read out loud to a dog, while a second, control group of second graders, would read to an adult. The  dogs that were used in the study had already gone through the Reading Education Assistance Dogs Program.

The investigators of the study were Amanda Diurba of Grafton Public Library, where the experiment was held, and Emily McCobb, Director of Cummings School Shelter Medicine. The students read for 30 minutes every day for five weeks. The findings were:

·        Students from the group who read to dogs had a slight increase in reading skills and attitude to reading.
·        Students who read to people experienced lowered scores both in terms of reading ability and attitude to reading.
·        No second grader who was paired with a dog left the group, and completed the entire length of the experiment.
·        One-third of those who read to people didn’t finish the program.

Diurba measured reading progress by noting the books that the children chose to read. The more difficult the choices, the more she knew they were improving.

Diurba told the AP, “At three weeks, something happens in the brain, the comfort level, whatever, and whatever little issues those children are having individually seemed to lessen mightily, go away. It actually ends up going away.”


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Dory and the Mama said...

Great post! We have the Austin Dog Alliance here in Austin that promotes an awesome program like this one!

♥♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥♥ said...

One of the highlights of one of our Mom's grandbipeds was going to the library for some reading time with a few visiting pups. We think it is a great program too.

Woos ~ Phantom, Thunder, Ciara, and Lightning

Abraham Lincoln said...

Most people do not believe a dog thinks like we do or understands what we say.

I am the opposite. I think dogs can speak and that other dogs can understand what they are talking about.

I did a study on the sounds a dog makes in many other countries and people had to spell it out in English.

You might be surprised that a Japanese dog's welcome sounds and is different than a French dog's welcome – for example.

Tooki said...

There's something about dogs that just brings out the best in these children - this is encouraging info!

♥ Sallie said...

Such a cute post!


BeadedTail said...

I used to read to my pets when I was little since there weren't any programs available like these but I think it's such a great idea! Dogs are helpful in so many ways!

Maggie Mae said...

OoH I would luvs to have a little two-legger read to me!
Thank you so much fur stoppin' by my blog today, I just luvs to make new furiends!

Woofs and Licks,
Maggie Mae