I've been bringing Luna to school with me during our work days, and we both love it! (and yes, I am getting work done! My classroom has never been this clean and organized before!) Because she loves coming, I love bringing her, and my colleagues love her, I asked my principal if I could bring her during the school year on Tuesdays and let some of my students read to her...and he said, "Yes!"
I know what you're thinking? Why would you want your students to read to a dog? Granted an extremely cute dog, but still a dog.
Well, I've done the research, and studies show that kids in "reading dog programs increase their reading skills by 12% to 20% over kids not in a reading dog program." Teachers also report that "82% students (in reading dog programs) increased their reading skills, self-confidence, and/or class participation." From (http://barkdogs.org/
I've read that it "builds excitement for reading" http://www.tdi-dog.org/OurPrograms.aspx?Page=Children+Reading+to+Dogs
And a researcher in Chicago found that "students in the program group… gaining 8 words per minute more on average, but up to 14 words per minute more in some cases, than students in a comparison group. This represents a 20 percent improvement in the program group over the comparison group in oral reading fluency gain.” http://www.fromthemixedupfiles.com/2013/02/ruff-ruff-read/
Now, I know, Luna is still a puppy and that most organizations want a dog to be certified, and that you have to be a year old to be certified, but my thought is, the sooner we get her in a classroom and around students, the more comfortable she will be around them, and will ultimately make her a more calm dog and therefore a better reading experience for the children.
If you would like to donate to my Donor's Choose project to buy dog themed books for the children to read to Luna, please click here
*If you are interested in starting a program like this at your school, please contact me, I can send you my permission form and other information that I've found.*