Having A Dog Could Help Your Child Read Better, According To Study

Isabel Garcia
Photo credit: Miguel Sanz - Getty Images

From Delish

There's a long list of reasons why dogs are amazing family pets that deserve the fanciest dog houses. But pups can do more than provide companionship and teach responsibility: One recent study found that a dog's presence might be the motivation your children need to read better and for longer.

Published in the Anthrozoös journal, the study was conducted by Camille Rousseau, a doctoral student in UBC Okanagan’s School of Education and Dr. Christine Tardif-Williams, a professor at Brock University's Department of Child and Youth Studies. The study investigated whether dogs could create a helpful context for children when reading a challenging passage.

To test whether dogs affected the children’s motivation to read, 17 children between the ages of six and eight years old read stories a bit beyond their reading level. Some read with a therapy dog, while others read without one. According to Science Daily, the children would read aloud, and after reading the first page, they would have the option of a second reading or ending the session.

The results? The study found that a therapy dog positively impacted children’s motivation and persistence to read a challenging passage. The kids who read with a therapy dog confirmed they felt significantly more interested and competent than the ones who without one. The study also found that children spent much more time reading in the presence of a therapy dog than reading without one present.

"There have been studies that looked at the impact of therapy dogs on enhancing students' reading abilities, but this was the first study that carefully selected and assigned challenging reading to children," Rousseau told Science Daily. Ok, decision made!

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