Children read aloud to specially trained dogs

By Mike Lewis in Education

CHILDREN have been taking part in special reading sessions with Reading Dogs at Fishguard Library, thanks to the ‘Burns by your Side’ reading scheme.

The scheme encourages children to read aloud to specially-trained dogs, accompanied by their handlers.

“By reading to a dog, the children gradually improve their confidence in reading aloud, as well as developing their vocabulary, fluency of language and intonation,” said Tracey Johnson, from Fishguard Library.

“It also helps to increase feelings of well-being, especially for children in special provision units.”

Fishguard Library and Ysgol Glannau Gwaun have joined forces to provide Reading Dog sessions for children in the school’s additional learning needs unit. There are 12 pupils in the unit, aged 7 to 11.

The children visit Fishguard Library once a week during term time to spend a few minutes reading to a black Labrador/Newfoundland cross called Frankie Bear.

When they arrive, the children choose a book that they think Frankie would like to hear, or they can make up their own story or song. In the short time that this project has been running, they already improved in their confidence and ability when reading aloud, as well as learning to bond with Frankie.

One pupil said: “Frankie is soft and adorable and I enjoy reading to him,” and their teacher said “Frankie helps the children relax and to enjoy their reading time together”.

As the project continues, the school and library hope to invite parents in to see how the children have progressed and to reward the children with certificates.

This week’s County Echo is out in shops Thursday.

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