Barking Interrupted

Do you or your children read to your dog?

I ask this because studies have found that children who have trouble reading tend to improve after spending time reading to a dog.  They’re often more relaxed around them, and don’t feel embarrassed if they make a mistake (dogs are just happy to hear a good story and don’t mind mistakes!)

The R.E.A.D. program (Reading Education Assistance Dogs) is one of the many programs that offers access to friendly, story-loving dogs.

According to one article I read, one little girl loved that her furry audience “usually licked me when I was stuck on a word. I think he wanted to give me encouragement to figure out that word.”

credit: Bryan Chan, Los Angeles Times

credit: Jamie Francis,

A boy said of his dog: “He does look at the story book, and he smiles a lot.”

credit: Jamie Francis,

Another stated that his canine friend understood the story “and he liked it.”



All this has me thinking:

I often read passages of novels and lines of poetry aloud.

Perhaps my dog, Baffi, has been listening more closely than I realized.

After all, as I mentioned in an earlier post, she does love a good book…..

90 thoughts on “Barking Interrupted

  1. Oh, Baffi! What a studious little darling!

    My cats always come over when I read aloud, whether it’s my own writing to make sure the rhythm is working or another book for pronunciation practice and playing with character voices for fun. I used to think my cats sniffed my face and climbed in my lap because they thought I was speaking to them directly.

    But, I think you’re on to something here. Pets like to read, too!

  2. I didn’t know about this method to help children read….. ! It is fantastic… And of course the pictures are lovely! Bravo to Baffi for posing with her book!!

    • What I love about this idea is that it is quite easy to try at home as well. Dogs so often lay down next to children reading anyway so your step-grandchild can just casually start reading aloud and see what happens….

  3. My dogs and I were READ team members since 2004. My first therapy dog, Mohave passed in 2008 and Kiva took over. She retired the beginning of this year. I loved this program and miss it very much. I would recommend it to any therapy dog team.

  4. What a wonderful idea, that sounds a fun initiative!

    I really do enjoy the thought that dogs can get into a story. I wonder if our cats would too, although they’ve never looked particularly impressed when I’ve read aloud. Perhaps they need the right book though.

  5. Letizia, I’m not really a dog-person, but I would happily become one if my learning-disabled nephew could be helped to read in any way. I have forwarded your post to my sister for further musing! Thanks for yet another fascinating angle on reading life 🙂

  6. There is an actual program for that, how cute! In the photo Baffi looks a little grumpy, perhaps because you interrupted her reading! 😀 If I start reading to my furry companion, she would run off due to short attention span. After all, she’s still a baby.. 🙂 But I still am tempted to try!

  7. Haha, that’s brilliant! I love your dog with the book in the end picture, he’s so cute!
    I never thought of children reading out loud to dogs before, what a great idea, some furry encouragement seems to go a long way! 🙂

  8. That is such a great idea! I can totally believe that dogs would help kids learn to read like that.

    Sadly, I’ve never read to Sonic. We watch TV together a lot though, and sometimes he watches me play videogames too. I fear I’m not doing enough to help him learn…

    Baffi is so cute!

  9. What a gorgeous post, could feel myself just melting looking at those darling dogs listening so intently… When my daughter had doll’s tea-parties, her cavalier King Charles always sat neatly in the circle with the dollies listening to the polite conversation.
    And one of our dogs used to walk round to the back of the TV to see where the sheep and sheep dogs had gone…..

  10. What a brilliant idea. I was a shy child and this might have helped me out of my shell. I should start reading to my dog. I wonder if he likes mysteries.

  11. This is something I have no idea about. But getting to know new things is… well… what perhaps life is, right ?

    Having pets is kind of like privilege around here. Only the rich and affluent seem to be into that. But I guess we should change all that. Reading to pets is an interesting idea. I googled for READ and this is like a whole different dimension that developing countries could put in their educational setup.

    Thank you so much for the post 🙂

  12. We owe a great deal of gratitude to our four legged friends. They are true kindred spirits. They even take the time to learn our language knowing that humans simply do not have the capacity to learn theirs.

    • They are wonderful, I agree! My dog teaches me to read her body language every day but she’s much faster at learning mine than I am at learning hers (but that’s what makes the relationship so fascinating, I believe). You are so right!

  13. I love this idea! Dogs need the stimulation that human interaction brings, and I have been looking for great ways to “play” with my dog without having to run, run, run all the time. Thanks for a wonderful post.

    • I agree, it’s a wonderful program and idea! I hope you and your poodle will enjoy it.

      I love the photo of you riding your bicycle with your poodle in the basket – I ride the same way with my dog, Baffi!

      Thanks for dropping by 🙂

  14. I’ve heard about this program a few times. I keep thinking that if I had to pick a book to read to a group of dogs, I’d read “No More Dead Dogs,” which is about a teenager who refuses to read any more books about dogs that die at the end of the story. I think the dogs would love it, and would heartily agree. They’d lick me for sure.

    • What a great book title! I will definitely check it out as I love reading dog stories but they do all seem to end tragically, and I find myself sobbing uncontrollably.

      I will read it to Baffi and see if she likes it too 🙂

      Thanks for the suggestion!

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