Saturday, September 18, 2010

5 Books to Read to a Dog

A recent post on PW's Shelf Talker emphasized the benefits kids got when they read aloud to dogs. According to a joint study by the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and All Ears Reading program, the third-graders became better and faster readers. As Shelf Talker correctly points out reading to nonjudgmental creatures boosts a reader's self confidence. It also turns reading into a more enjoyable experience. At least for those kids who are comfortable with dogs.

 This got me to thinking. Since dogs are the audience, what books would they enjoy hearing? I composed a list of 5 early reader books to read to a dog. I tried to pick ones that both reader and listener would like. When I wasn't sure, I consulted my pug, Pablo, and he made the call.

1 The number one book was a no-brainer. Three Stories You Can Read to Your Dog by Sara Swan Miller. What dog wouldn't rejoice to hear stories written to suit his taste and interests? There's a story about a "burglar," another about a bone, and a third about a "wild" dog who enjoys chasing cars and squirrels. And if your canine companion still hasn't had his fill, check out Three More Stories You Can Read to Your Dog by the same author.

Now here, in no particular order, are the rest.

2 For kids just starting out Go, Dog, Go by P.D. Eastman will put them on the road to reading. Dogs of all kinds, big ones, little ones, green ones, red ones, and yellow ones, take off on the page as they zoom about in cars, on boats, and even on skis. Pablo gives this book an enthusiastic thumbs up!

3 Dogs don't just like to listen to stories. Sometimes they are in the mood for some meaty nonfiction. Why Do Dogs Bark? by Joan Holub answers the many questions that dogs may wonder about in those odd moments when they aren't nosing about in the trash can or digging up the garden. Kids will enjoy learning about their canine friends as well.

4 I don't have many heros. But Balto, a sled dog that helped get vital medicine to children in Nome, Alaska, back in 1925, is one of them. I first learned about Balto when I was researching a book about the great dogsled race that eventually became the Iditarod. Children reading The Bravest Dog Ever: The True Story of Balto by Natalie Standiford will be inspired to learn how dogs helped save lives, and the dogs hearing the stirring tale can bask in their ancestors' glory.

5 Last, but in no way least, is Martha Speaks by Susan Meddaugh. Martha, a lovable mutt, gobbles up some alphabet soup, then stuns her family when she is able to speak. An, wow, does she have a lot to say. After hearing all these fine picture books and early readers what dog wouldn't want to speak up and thank his young friend for the entertainment. And who knows, may even provide a suggestion or two for the next book.

1 comment:

  1. What a fun post! I don't recommend STONE FOX for dog reading. Too sad! Off to check out that "Shelf Talker" article... A.