I know, she isn’t a Human, but isn’t she cute! Meet Penny, she’s Geelong’s first Story Dog. She listens to children read. She doesn’t laugh at them or correct them. She’s non-judgmental. But the facts show she is helping children succeed. It’s fun for the children, their focus improves, their confidence soars and so do their reading skills.
Story Dogs, a non-profit, was founded by two Mums, Janine Sigley and Leah Sheldon and in 2009 in Murwillumbah, NSW. www.storydogs.org.au The mission is to ‘make reading fun for children, so they become confident, lifelong readers.’
This highly successful program is finally coming to Geelong. Story Dogs are on the lookout for Primary Schools that would like to participate. There is no cost to the school and no cost to the students as sponsors fit the bill.
“Once we start the program in one Geelong school, we’ll be expanding the program into more schools to reach and help more children,” Penny’s handler Karen explains.
“Throughout Australia, Story Dogs help over 2520 children each week. There are almost 500 volunteer Dog Teams in over 300 schools.”
The handler and Story Dog visit the school once a week for a reading session, seeing about four Grade 2 students, chosen by the school. The students read to the Story Dog one at a time, on an ongoing basis, thus building up a lovely relationship.
“When children read to the Story Dog, the outcomes are amazing! The accepting, loving nature of dogs gives this program its magic and helps children relax, open up, try harder and have fun while reading to a friendly, calm dog.”
Schools and sponsors, please get in touch if you are interested.
Contact Karen 0423 021 984
Story: Jacqui Bennett. Photo: supplied