According to Books+Publishing today (from a report in Government News), Lake Macquarie City Library in regional NSW is signing up for more bark than bite.
The BaRK literacy program (Building Reading Confidence for Kids) is all about reading books to dogs. The Library has asked pet owners and dogs in their region to come along for this incredibly successful eight-week program.
It’s all about improving reading skills and confidence for children with reading difficulties or speech impediments, by having them read aloud to a trained therapy dog. It works so well that they need more dogs for all the kids who have signed up!
It’s not a brand new thing – Yarra Plenty Regional Library in Victoria started doing this last year under the name Doggy Tales. Their mascot, Lachlan the Reading Dog, even has his own Facebook page.
There are a bunch of benefits. Kids get to read to a patient, non-judgemental audience who will never tell them they mispronounced a word. Also, being around pets lowers kids’ blood pressure, helping them to stay relaxed when doing something difficult like reading new vocabulary. Plus, I’ve already talked about how reading aloud is the best.
And they already have a Paws to Read program with dogs in the USA , while in the UK the program includes cats, rabbits and even llamas! I can tell you right now, if I had needed any encouragement in learning to read, I’d say a llama would do it! 😀
Side note – I miss my cat! It’s been years now since he had to get put down, and I still think of him often, when I trip over myself instead of tripping over him.
This post is copyright (C) TJ Withers-Ryan, 2015. Reblogging is always highly encouraged, as long as you credit me as the author of this text.