Pets, Reading and Literacy

How Dogs Can Help Children’s Reading Skills

How Dogs Can Help Children’s Reading Skills

Originally published September 2012

It is well known that dogs are loving, loyal, and great companions to their human owners. But did you know that children who read to their dogs often improve their reading by one school grade?

Linda and Michael Amiri, authors of the book Shellie, the Magical Dog, have led studies which found that dogs help children learn to love reading. Here’s why:


  1. Children do not feel embarrassed: Children are not going to be made fun of by their dog if they make a mistake reading or get stuck on a word.
  2. Children feel confident: Dogs provide companionship and don’t rush children while reading, therefore giving children the time they need to build their confidence and comfort level.
  3. Dogs are polite listeners: Dogs are non-judgmental and don’t interrupt.
  4. Children have fun reading to their canine friends: In comparison to sitting at a desk and staring at a textbook in solitude, reading aloud to a furry friend is different and can be treated as a performance, therefore not feeling so much like homework as it is interesting and fun.
  5. It’s a win-win situation: Dogs aid children in language studies, while children help dogs to learn patience and discipline. In turn, dogs can then aid people with visual impairments, veterans, and those who use wheelchairs.