When I wrote the first Tinka book, FUN DOG, SUN DOG, I didn’t know there were programs that used dogs to help children learn to read. I just wrote it because I loved my dog.
But by the time I was thinking about the next book (and Tinka had left this world, sob), I knew about the programs, and I thought that it would be fun to honor that wonderful idea. It’s amazing how well it works to have kids read to dogs. They relax, and have fun, and it improves reading skills (in the kids; the dogs, not so much) by up to 20% compared to kids who are not in a reading-to-dogs program!
So in the next book, Tinka runs away to her boy’s school and wreaks havoc. So how do the kids get the grown-ups to let her stay? You guessed it! She feels very much at home in their reading corner! She’s a look dog, a nook dog, a loves-to-hear-a-book dog!
People who work in reading with dogs programs use many different books, of course, but I know some of them use the Tinka books and Cool Dog, School Dog is a favorite (this is not a scientific study–I just know some of the groups like it!).
I’ve been in touch with one group in California called BARK, Beach Animals Reading with Kids. Josie often sends me photos from her programs. When she sent me this one:
I asked my publisher to send the group a few copies of Snow Dog, Go Dog. (Even though there’s not a lot of snow at the beach…) The lovely folks at Two Lions did just that and now I have some photos of kids with Snow Dog. Here are some happy kids and some adorable (if sometimes distracted or sleeping) dogs:
Boy is paying attention to book. Dog is not.
Ah, dog is now paying attention! She likes the idea of being a body-sledding-slide dog. There is some reading going on! And also some belly-rubbing.
And at another school:
Click on photo to enlarge it. It is worth it for the smile.
Snow Dog ends: Tinka is a rosy dog, a dozy dog, a hugged-and-fed-and cozy dog! This dog is pretty cozy, too, and she looks so much like my Tinka did!
Reading and dogs. They go together like… well, like kids and dogs.
Happy Winter (Even if you’re at the beach)! Happy Reading!