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Children spend longer reading and try harder when there’s a dog in the room, study finds 

Children spend longer reading and are motivated to learn when there’s a dog in the room, study finds

  • Child read aloud to an observer, the dog handler and their pet or without a dog
  • After reading the first page, participants were asked if they wanted to continue
  • Those with a dog were more interested in reading and improved their abilities

Parents may want to rethink getting their children a dog, as a new study reveals our canine friends motivate them to read more.

Researchers found that children spent longer reading and showed more persistence when a dog was in the room as opposed to when they read without them.

The children also reported feeling more interested and competent, which leads experts to believe therapy dogs way enhance a child’s reading abilities.

The study was conducted by a team at UBC Okanagan’s School of Education who examined how 17 children, in grades one through three, would react while reading with and without a dog present.

Camille Rousseau, a doctoral student in UBC Okanagan’s School of Education, said ‘Our study focused on whether a child would be motivated to continue reading longer and persevere through moderately challenging passages when they are accompanied by a dog.’

 

Researchers found that children spent longer reading and showed more persistence when a dog was in the room as opposed to when they read without them. The children also reported feeling more interested and competent, which leads experts to believe therapy dogs way enhance a child’s reading abilities

For this experiment, children were first tested on their reading abilities and then given material that was slightly beyond their level.

Each participant was asked to read aloud to either an observer, the dog handler and their pet or to just the humans – the dog was not present in the room.

After finishing the first page, researchers asked the child if they would like to continue reading the next page or end the session.

‘The findings showed that children spent significantly more time reading and showed more persistence when a dog—regardless of breed or age—was in the room as opposed to when they read without them,’ explained Rousseau.

‘In addition, the children reported feeling more interested and more competent.’

With the recent rise in popularity of therapy dog reading programs in schools, libraries and community organizations, Rousseau says their research could help to develop ‘gold-standard’ canine-assisted intervention strategies for struggling young readers.

For this experiment, children were first tested on their reading abilities and then given material that was slightly beyond their level. Each participant was asked to read aloud to either an observer, the dog handler and their pet or to just the humans ¿ the dog was not present in the room

For this experiment, children were first tested on their reading abilities and then given material that was slightly beyond their level. Each participant was asked to read aloud to either an observer, the dog handler and their pet or to just the humans – the dog was not present in the room

‘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,’ she says.

Some studies and programs have children choose their own book, and while the reading experience would still be positive, Rousseau adds it’s the educational experience of persevering through a moderate challenge that offers a potentially greater sense of achievement.

She hopes the study increases organizations’ understanding of how children’s reading could be enhanced by furry friends.

HOW DID DOGS BECOME DOMESTICATED?

A genetic analysis of the world’s oldest known dog remains revealed that dogs were domesticated in a single event by humans living in Eurasia, around 20,000 to 40,000 years ago.

Dr Krishna Veeramah, an assistant professor in evolution at Stony Brook University, told MailOnline: ‘The process of dog domestication would have been a very complex process, involving a number of generations where signature dog traits evolved gradually.

‘The current hypothesis is that the domestication of dogs likely arose passively, with a population of wolves somewhere in the world living on the outskirts of hunter-gatherer camps feeding off refuse created by the humans.

‘Those wolves that were tamer and less aggressive would have been more successful at this, and while the humans did not initially gain any kind of benefit from this process, over time they would have developed some kind of symbiotic [mutually beneficial] relationship with these animals, eventually evolving into the dogs we see today.’

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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