The dog days of summer may go by more quickly and reading levels may improve if children read aloud to a dog, U.S. researchers suggest. Researchers at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University say second-grade students who read aloud to a dog during the summer seem to maintain their reading skills. The study involved students with a range of reading aptitudes and attitudes toward reading, who were paired with dogs -- or with people -- and asked to read aloud to them once a week for 30 minutes in the summer, the researchers say. Lisa Freeman, one of the study's authors and the research mentor for lead author Dawn Lenihan, a third-year veterinary student, says by the end of the summer, the students who read to the dogs experienced a slight gain in their reading ability and improvement in their attitudes toward reading -- measured on the Curriculum-Based Measurement and Elementary Reading Attitude Survey. Those who read to people experienced a decrease on both measures, the study says. Of the students who read to the people, one-third failed to complete the program. No students left the dog-reading group, the researchers add. Students reading to the dogs were enrolled in the Reading Education Assistance Dogs (R.E.A.D.) Program, a non-profit organization that encourages children to read through the use of therapy animals and runs programs at the Grafton, Mass., public library, the study says. Copyright 2011 United Press International, Inc.(UPI). Any reproduction, repubication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.