Helping Paws: Encouraging Reluctant Readers

Helping Paws banner with dogs and cats

Did you know that an estimated one million children in Canada are reading below their grade level? And while this may cause despair for many parents, the easiest solution might already be in your home!

Reading to a pet is one of the best ways for children to improve their reading ability. Animals, especially dogs, provide a non-judgemental and calm (assuming your canine isn’t bursting with energy) environment for children to practice their reading skills. In fact, reading to a pet leads to greater gains in reading ability and comprehension than reading to an adult.

Who knew that our furry friends could be so helpful? And if you need some more tips and tricks, the SDG Library is here to help.

  • Reading, speaking, singing to and playing with your child will all help with language acquisition and development. Play time is the best time to learn!
  • Reading for 20 minutes a day is all it takes to help your child succeed. Children that read for 20 minutes a day are likely to score better than 90% of their peers on standardized testing.
  • Graphic novels are a great way for children to develop their reading skills. Images help them build context to decipher difficult words.
  • Check out our CELA collection for those with print related disabilities
  • Interactive books, such as Tap the Magic Tree, Hey Bruce! and Don’t Push the Button make for fun ways to engage your child. Check out an awesome interactive storytime list here: Playful Read-Aloud Picture Books
  • Set up a cozy reading corner for your reluctant reader.
  • Try pairing audiobooks with physical books so your child can follow along.
  • Check out the Canadian Children’s Literacy Foundation for even more resources
  • Visit an SDG Library storytime near you: