North Nowra Public School became the first in Nowra to launch the Paws’n’Tails reading program for students on Wednesday.
The new pet-assisted program provides fun and beneficial reading sessions for children with reading difficulties, aiming to increase their reading skills and foster a love of reading.
Catherine Horsley said her 11-year-old Staffordshire Terrier cross Corgi Beau, assists children who lack confidence reading.
“They read their stories to Beau, they grow to love the program and their confidence builds and their reading improves,” Mrs Horsley said.
The concept of the program is that dogs provide a calm, non-judgemental presence, allowing the child to develop skills and confidence in a safe, non-threatening environment.
Mrs Horsley said Beau is the perfect reading companion.
“He loves people and he really loves children, that’s his qualifications,” she said.
“It works with children because children and animals go well together and they have no criticism, animals are unconditional and they feel free to make mistakes.”
North Nowra Public School Principle Julie Ashby said Beau will volunteer at the school each week and assist four students in each session.
“It was recommended by an occupational therapist. It’s just another way of engaging children in developing a love of reading,” Mrs Ashby said.
“It’s a very well structured volunteer program, which is getting results.
“Beau is just as excited as the children about the program, we have so many children we would like to have involved to nurture a love of reading, so we’re really thrilled it is here.
“We hope to expand the program, the only limitation is the availability of dogs like Beau and volunteers like Catherine.”
Paws Pet Therapy has been working with Shoalhaven Library on a pilot program, which commenced in April and are recruiting volunteers for the Paws'n'Tales programs.
Participating in these programs with your dog could lead to a range of exciting and rewarding opportunities within your local community. For more information visit http://www.pawspettherapy.com, contact 4681 0499, 0418 869 181 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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