Children Helping To Save The Lives Of Animals While Getting On Track To Become Millionaires Through Reading
Several years ago, animal shelters began inviting children to read books to the animals. These program were instantly successful. The children loved reading to the animals. Teachers loved the amazing gains in the children’s reading levels. What was highly unexpected was how much the animals benefited by listening to the children reading books. Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic has now canceled all of these wonderful programs. The children and the animals are experiencing the negative effects.
An animal shelter is a very scary place for a dog. Everyone, and everything, they have ever known is now gone. They are locked in a cage. They can’t play and run. They don’t know what will happen next, or if they can ever trust anyone again. Most are afraid and stressed. This can lead to cowering in a corner, jumping, barking, and lunging when people come to look for a dog to adopt. Since most people will not adopt a dog that displays these behaviors, high stress levels can be deadly.
Fortunately, animal researchers have found when shelter dogs listen to recordings of people reading books, they have much lower stress levels . They were only stressed 26.39% of the time, while the average dog at a shelter was stressed 75.92% of the time. What was most exciting was that the dogs loved listening to recordings of everyone reading books (female readers, male readers, US readers, non-US readers, etc).
Teachers, principals, parents, and animal shelter managers were all looking for options to allow children to continue reading to the dogs, but the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions eliminated most solutions. Internet based distance learning solutions were considered, but many children do not have at-home Internet access and/or computers. So we created a phone based solution available to everyone. Unlike Internet service, the government considers telephone service a utility. Therefore, low-cost or free phone service is available in every community through government programs.
The children simply pick up a phone and call the educational phone number provide by their teacher. Everything is super easy. Even kindergarten students are using the system without any help. The system has many educational programs and resources, but the "Read To A Dog" has been the most popular. The system asks the student to say the name of their book, then to say the author, and then asks the student to read the book. The system automatically processes the recording, removes noise, gaps of silence, adjusts the volume level for handling soft-spoken readers, etc.
Also, since most animal shelters request multi-hour book reading sessions for their animals, the system combines multiple student's recordings. All students are completely anonymous. The educational phone system only asks the children questions about their book.
Since many low-income children cannot access on-line books, the next problem was providing them with paper books. Fortunately, every school serving low-income children has access to free meal services funded by the government. Now that their school buildings are closed, the children are receiving weekly grab-and-go food bags. So we asked people to donate books or funds to non-profit organizations that provide books and reading programs for low-income children. The books were then delivered by teachers or principals to the locations providing the weekly free meals for students.
The project was a success. The children loved the fact that they could easily record books to help animals, anytime and anywhere. Many children read books about dogs, cats, and other animals. The children were now reading many more books than ever, so their reading levels were now improving very quickly.
These children are also on track to become millionaires. New research has found that children that can improve their reading level by one standard deviation should earn at least an extra million dollars during their careers when compared to children with lower reading levels.
The dogs are now happier, have less stress, and have a much higher chance of being adopted by someone who will provide them with love at their new forever home.