The development of reading skills is important for early readers. As children get older, this will help them understand their textbooks and other complex texts. At K-9 Reading Buddies, we offer special reading buddies programs to help your child practice and develop their reading skills.

Learning to read can be intimidating for many children. Kids feel anxious about reading aloud because they fear they may embarrass themselves. A large number of children regularly benefit from programs that offer non-judgmental reading buddy dogs. Here are 5 ways to help your child read better. This includes the reading buddies program that has been proven for its high effectiveness.

1. Join a Reading Buddies Program

When it comes to a reading buddies program, you may be wondering how a therapy pet can help alter the way that your child feels about reading and learning. According to a 2010 University of California study, students that read to pets for 15 to 20 minutes per week, for up to 8 weeks, improved their reading skills by up to 20%. The study established that the students improved their reading skills while also demonstrating enhanced self-confidence levels. They also participated more in their classes.

Canine reading buddies have become an amazing addition to many classrooms, bookstores, and libraries due to their effectiveness. Research also shows that pets help people connect with each other. The development of such a bond strengthens their ability to work together.

Reading buddies can help children in many ways:

  • Dogs are nonjudgmental and have a calming presence. They can help eliminate stressful situations.
  • Children may feel a sense of insecurity about their ability to read. Reading buddies from K-9 Reading Buddies can help bolster their self-confidence and reduce anxiety.
  • Children feel self-conscious about reading. They are afraid that their teachers and peers will judge them if they don’t perform at the desired levels. A reading buddy eliminates this fear by making the process joyful.
  • Our reading buddies are trained pets who are expert listeners. They are patient, supportive, and encouraging with children.

2. Read Aloud to Your Child

A reading buddies program can go a long way in helping your child become a better reader. Besides, it is recommended to use additional strategies to increase the speed of improvement. You can read aloud to your child to strengthen their reading skills. We recommend following these tips when reading aloud to your kid:

  • Read Aloud Every Day: Choose books with interesting topics to read aloud every day.
  • Have a Two-Way Read-Aloud Session: Children may enjoy holding the book and turning the pages. Ask your child to point to words on the page. You can also get them to help you read words. Make sure to explain any unfamiliar words to them.
  • Talk About the Sessions: After every read-aloud session, ask your child whether they liked the story and the reasons why. Encourage your child to ask questions about the words, pictures, and characters.

Make it fun by giving a voice to each character in the book. This can keep children engaged and the overall experience can be fun.

3. Use Audiobooks

Research studies also show that reading comprehension can improve when children read books and listen to them, both at the same time. This is especially beneficial for children with short attention spans and who have difficulty in developing reading skills.

Listening to audiobooks can help develop key areas of a child’s mind. We encourage parents to check out books on tap at their library along with the reading buddies program.

Audiobooks are obviously no substitutes for one-on-one reading. It is important for your child to read books, but listening to audiobooks can open up avenues of the mind that improve their understanding and encourage them to read.

4. Reread Books to Improve Fluency

Children should normally be able to read up to 90 words per minute by the time they enter the 3rd grade. However, this may not be achievable for many kids. Get your child to read and then reread simple and familiar books. This will provide them with the practice required for decoding words effectively. This can help them achieve fluency in their reading comprehension.

If your kid likes to read the same book the 10th time, let them. The process of rereading helps in building both speed and accuracy. This can further help develop confidence.

5. Play Word Games

While reading buddies can make a big difference in your child’s life, there are always some extras that can help enhance their reading abilities. Word games will help your child become more aware of the sounds made by different words. Encourage them to

  • Say tongue twisters
  • Sing songs that involve wordplay
  • Swap out letters from words to create new words

Point out the relationships between different words. Always find time to talk about words. Explain how words that are related can be similar in terms of meanings and spellings.

  • Explain how some nouns can be related to verbs. For example, the relation between ‘knowledge’ and ‘know’.
  • Explain how words or sections of words may be spelled the same but pronounced differently.

We also suggest creating a family reading time. You can set aside a few minutes every day or once a week when everyone in the family can read together. When your child sees you reading, it will inspire them to read. Reading just 15 minutes a day can help improve your child’s reading fluency.

At K-9 Reading Buddies, we motivate kids to read. Our trained and proven therapy dog teams supplement your child’s literacy programs to strengthen their reading skills. As already mentioned above, the key is to overcome your child’s anxiety and build their confidence. We offer reading buddies programs for different levels including pre-kindergarten, elementary and middle schools, high school, after-school, and library programs. We partner with children from pre-school to college. Currently, more than 200 kids register to read to our therapy dog teams every year at libraries and the numbers keep growing. So, when it comes to helping your child read better, we suggest taking advantage of our program while also following the supplemental tips mentioned here.