I read a wonderful report yesterday about a classroom in Devon where dogs are teaching children to read.
Well, not exactly what that usually means, but it’s real.
Dogs are social animals. They like people. One might often say they even love people. They are terribly good listeners, they don’t laugh if you make a mistake or stutter, they can express interest, and seem to have an exhaustible amount of patience. I’ve known for a long time that dogs are good for sick people, and are sometimes brought into rest homes and even hospitals. They are often a window of communication for autistic children, and elderly people who have dogs live on average longer than people who don’t.
But it never occurred to me that they might be brilliant in the classroom. I was so intrigued by the idea after reading the article that I googled “Dogs in the classroom,” and was amazed and delighted to discover that they are being brought into classrooms around the world. Children who read to a dog in a classroom are more likely to take a book with them to read when they go home.
But dogs in the classroom do more than that. They reach children about responsibility, sympathy, and caring. They help reduce classroom truancy and often make students less aggressive.
Here are a couple of reports on line that I particularly enjoyed. Google has a much longer list for anyone looking for “Dogs in the Classroom.” Reading with a Fluffy Friend, Tails from the White House Lawn, A Research Report, Unconventional Teaching, and