Family pets may not have a lot to say, but they make great listeners. Children are typically less stressed when reading aloud knowing their four-legged audience is patient and nonjudgmental.

If your child is hesitant to read aloud to you or peers, try scheduling a reading session with the family dog, cat or even goldfish. Canine reading programs are popping up in libraries all around the country, and the effectiveness of these initiatives is evident.

A study by the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine found that over the course of a 10-week period, children who participated in a canine reading program improved their literacy skills by 12 percent.

The next time you’re at the local library, keep an eye out for a four-legged friend. When it comes to literacy, man’s best friend may just turn out to be your child’s best pal.


12 Join the Discussion

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  1. I’m not really shy reading at all! I only have 1 dog :P I LOVE TO READ! I’m also a loud speaker, if I’m told to speak at once.

    But, I do talk to my dog if I have problems in life. He’s like my little helper and I know he’s there for me! He knows he can trust me and I trust him back! <3

    • It sounds like you have a great bond with your dog, Marla…we think that’s AWESOME! Pets can be AMAZING friends! Thanks for visiting this Wonder today, and letting us know you love to read! :-)

    • Hi erica! We are sorry you had difficulty viewing the video. It should be working, so maybe try again later. Have a WONDERful day! :)

    • We are glad you enjoyed this WONDER, carolyn. It is one of our favorites too. Do you have a pet that you read to? Thanks for WONDERing with us! :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • How do you get better at reading aloud if you’re shy?
  • How can your family pet help you read?
  • What’s a canine reading program?

Wonder Gallery

Try It Out

You don’t have to wait for a literacy pet program to come to your community. You can start one right in your own home!

Have your child set weekly “study buddy dates” with the family’s furry companion. During each date, he or she can spend 20 to 30 minutes reading from a book of his or her choice.

Want to add a little more fun? Ask your child to create weekly “grade cards” explaining what they read about during their time together.


Still Wondering

Check out this resource from to help guide parents and children through reading aloud to each other.


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