The main objective of Kiddie Kare A’Kademie’s Bow Wow Book Club is to provide a relaxed and “dog-friendly” atmosphere, which allows students to practice the skill of reading. Many of the children at our daycare are in preschool and therefore in the early stages of reading. Also, some of our school-aged students, who arrive from Jeffrey Elementary for our after school program, have difficulties reading and as a result have developed self-esteem issues. They are often self-conscious when reading aloud in front of other classmates. By sitting down next to a dog and reading to the dog, all threats of being judged are put aside. The child relaxes, pats the attentive dog, and focuses on the reading. Reading improves because the child is practicing the skill, building self-esteem, and associating reading with something pleasant.
Improving the child’s skill of reading is the major benefit of this daycare program. But, there are many more positives that arise from this activity.
- Great opportunity for students: children flourish, and reading scores improve.
- Builds excitement about reading. Indeed, many children talk about going home and reading to their own dog or other pet. What better way to improve a skill than to practice it?
- The joy children get from being around a dog. Most children seem to naturally love animals, and especially dogs. Imagine the positive motivation this gives to a child as he/she sits by, reads to, and pats a calm and gentle dog.
- Unfortunately, not all children are comfortable around dogs. Some children that have not had an opportunity to be with dogs have a fear of them. As a child interacts with a Resource K9 dog, such as K9 Magnum, they develop a better understanding of dogs.
- This program is of course, geared to helping the children. But, there are benefits for handlers, too. It gives people an opportunity to give back to the community. By helping children become better readers, we are helping them to become better students, and in the future, more productive citizens.