For many children, reading aloud in the classroom can be seen as a daunting task. Fortunately for those struggling to read in front of their peers, animals may be able to help. Across the country, programs such as Therapy Dogs International (TDI), and Reading Education Assistance Dogs (R.E.A.D.), have been implementing the use of trained therapy dogs to help children gain confidence in their reading skills. The participants of these, and similar programs, enjoy reading to a calm pooch in a quiet environment, while they practice their reading skills with no fear of embarrassment or harassment. By associating the act of reading aloud with a pleasant experience with the animal, kids are learning to love reading in the process.
Encouraging children to spend time reading aloud to pets at home could similarly help strengthen the reader’s abilities. Utilizing resources like the Lexile® Framework for Reading and Lexile “Find a Book”, can help the reader choose a text at the appropriate level of difficulty to practice reading aloud with.