My Fresh Hell
Life in Scribbletown.

Reading To Dogs

2006-05-25

“Today in school we made bird houses.”
“That’s cool.”
“And birds. Pretend ones.”
“Good.”
“Mine whispered to me that he didn’t want eyes, feet, nose or mouth.”

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Summer Research time for students here on campus is fast approaching. I received the following e-mail the other day about an intriguing study:

“I am working with 2 students this summer on a study that looks at the effect of reading to dogs. Yes I did say reading to dogs. There is anecdotal evidence that reading to the dog helps children to relax and increases reading fluency and comprehension. We are doing a pilot study to see if we can find evidence for this effect in a more controlled setting. We are inviting elementary school children to come to the library once a week for 6 weeks for about 30 minutes of reading each session. We are scheduling appointments during the day, in the evening and on weekends so that hopefully we will have a time that works for your family. Some of the children will be reading to dogs while others will be reading to an adult. We would like to have a general information session the week of June 12th so that you can meet with some of the therapy dogs and owners and learn about the reading program. If you are interested please email and let me know so that I can send more specific information.”

Needless to say, I e-mailed the professor back post haste. Reading to dogs?! Why wouldn’t you jump at a chance like that? That evening when I explained the study to the family over dinner, Dusty said, “I’d like to read to dogs.” She saw nothing absurd about this at all. And, I guess, really, there isn't. It just feels surreal. Kids, gotta love ‘em! So, I’ll let you know if we become one of the few, the proud, the readers to dogs. Just one of the many perks to a) working on a college campus and b) having children you can volunteer for experimental research.

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We have a new friend. She visits us almost every day, honking and making a racket. At first, we weren’t sure what she was (I’m calling her Prudence. For no reason other than she looks like a Prudence. No offense if this is your name – I’m not calling you ugly. Really.) but for some reason the term “guinea hen” popped into my brain after we’d been referring to her as a turkey (which, clearly, she wasn’t) for a week or so. Bing! I was right. And, after a quick bit of research, discovered that she eats bugs – ticks, spiders, Japanese beetles, etc. Now, we lovelovelove Prudence and want her to be our very own. But, I imagine she belongs to someone else and just likes to hang out in our yard. Prudence, please come and eat every single tick that may lurk on our 4.5 acres! Help yourself!

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12:06 p.m. ::
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