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Reading to a Dog!

Found in: School News

The concept of a child reading out loud to a trained dog to improve their reading ability may seem a bit strange, but that is exactly what Year 5 students are doing at Southern Hills Christian College.

However, the research globally supports this – and has done for some time.   The Reading Education Assistance Dogs (R.E.A.D) program was first launched back in 1999 in the United States and the improvements in students reading levels show dramatic improvements.

Students seem to have little or no inhibition reading to animals as opposed to humans, largely because all of the things that we as humans may impose upon young students who are in the early stages of reading (judgement, pressure, impatience, etc.) do not exist with companion dogs.  Year 5 student Daniel enjoyed the opportunity to read a book while cuddling Nitro, the lovable English Pointer who even smiled for the photographer!

“I love it! It was good fun to be able to read the story and I think Nitro liked it too!”

Southern Hills Christian College Paul Beacham instigated the idea based on his international research and the unique surroundings of the Bedfordale campus that his students enjoy.

“Southern Hills is very much a natural school: nature play, growing up in the environment that we have.  The research supports this form of learning, and we are keen to trial this and track the results.”