By Mona Sabalones Gonzalez
For some time now, reading programs making use of dogs have been ongoing across the
The results have been so strongly positive, that they continue to thrive. U.S.
Now, a new study from the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine,
, 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. Tufts University
The study was conducted by Dawn Lenihan, a third-year veterinary student at
’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. She was mentored by Dr. Lisa M. Freeman, who is also one of the authors of the study. Tufts University
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.”