"Story Dogs" Help Improve Reading Skills For Children
"Story Dogs" are helping primary school students in Queensland, Australia to improve their literacy skills. The program, which aims to improve focus, confidence and literacy skills in the children in a non-judgemental environment, has students read aloud to the dogs and their owners for 20 minutes.
Graham Mathias, Brisbane south coordinator, said that he has noticed a huge improvement after introducing story dogs in the classroom.
"We find that students who go to Story Dogs class are usually up and reading in the class within two weeks," Mathias said. "Some haven't read in class since they started school so it brings their confidence up as dogs don't judge."
Val Avent and her dog Dougal, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, come into the classroom once a week and she said that Dougal enjoys the children jsut as much as they enjoy him.
"I can tell Dougal enjoys it. When I tell him we're off to see the students he does his circles and sits by the car," she said.
Watson Road State School principal Darren Ball said that the program gives students a unique learning opportunity.
"We have had a massive focus on reading. And it's not just about the technical side of reading, but it's about the confidence and that feeling of being successful around reading," Ball said.