The Lesehund (Reading Dog)

This is one of the things I wanted to post last Wednesday. See? I remembered!

Harriet sends us this story from her local news in Norway about Ido the “lesehund” or “reading dog.” The video is in Norwegian, of course, but, lucky for us, Harriet is bilingual and can translate for us. (Even if you choose not to play it, put your cursor on the image below to see the word under the “Play” arrow. Funny!)

Ido is a reading dog. His job is to be read to by children. This is an example of animal-assisted therapy.

The dog and the boy Emin, 7 years old, meet once a week to have reading practice with the specialist.

She explains that as the child interacts with the dog, his body releases the hormone oxytocin that lessens the heart rate and calms him. This relaxation improves learning ability, and the child becomes a better reader through this practice. Emin has improved his skills in just a few weeks. He chooses the hardest reading material with smaller letters and is very proud and happy.

The teacher has made a special program with short stories that are exciting and fun to read and that suit the child.

Stitching for Literacy, a Norwegian news story about Ido, the reading dog

The teacher asks Emin, “Who is having the best of time, you or the dog?”

“I am,” he answers, “because I can cuddle him and read at the same time!”

Such a great story!

This story shows that being relaxed, happy, and positive improves one’s learning ability. Anything that creates that kind of mental and physical state should aid learning—including embroidery.

I always say that stitching makes me a better listener. I stitch not only while Mike reads, but also while listening to courses from The Great Courses, including our recent foray into Einstein’s theory of relativity and quantum mechanics. The busy-ness of my hands, the focus of my eyes and brain, and the relaxed state of my body puts me in the best possible state to understand and learn even complicated things.

I know that listening isn’t the same as reading, but listening is a step on the road to improved literacy. It increases vocabulary and develops a love of stories and reading.

A teacher in Girdwood taught her students to knit one year, and I would like to teach kids to embroider in the classroom. I think adding that kind of relaxing activity to the school setting would improve learning for many kids.

Thanks, Harriet, for sharing this story with us!

Categories: Reading