READY TO LISTEN: Clyde the dog.
READY TO LISTEN: Clyde the dog. Inga Williams

Reading to Rover to help kids

IT'S no secret that a dog is a man's best friend.

Not-for-profit organisation Story Dogs has harnessed this friendship to help children build confidence and improve literacy with the method of reading to dogs.

Story Dogs Brisbane Southside co-ordinator Graham Mathias said the group, which runs programs in 53 schools across Australia, needs volunteers to help start an Ipswich chapter.

"Many children never read aloud in class due to a lack of confidence," he said. "Story Dogs takes that pressure away; it's not teaching them to read, it's teaching them to read with confidence."

Story Dogs is based on successful US literacy program, Reading Education Assistance Dogs (READ), which was launched in 1999 and began in Australia in 2009.

READY TO LISTEN: Volunteer Kelly Schoormans with her dog Clyde and Graham Mathias are working with Best Friends Pet Care in West Ipswich to start the Story Dogs program in local primary schools.
READY TO LISTEN: Volunteer Kelly Schoormans with her dog Clyde and Graham Mathias are working with Best Friends Pet Care in West Ipswich to start the Story Dogs program in local primary schools. Inga Williams

 

"We need volunteers who have a dog that would suit the program, who can offer just two hours a week," Mr Mathias said.

"We train volunteers and the dogs are assessed by a licensed dog handler. The teachers love it, the dogs love it, the volunteers love it and the results are truly tremendous."

Best Friends Ipswich general manager Darren Richards said the store had supported the Story Dogs program since August last year.

"We've spoken to a few schools and there's a lot of interest; the kids all love animals and we think it's a great idea," he said.

To get involved phone Graham on 0402908539.

Visit storydogs.org.au for more information.

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