Dogs are the best listeners when it comes to reading

STORY DOGS: Students from Byron Bay High School, Kori Tasker, Coco Cratchley, Nathan Smith and Beau Learmonth with Attila the story Dog.
STORY DOGS: Students from Byron Bay High School, Kori Tasker, Coco Cratchley, Nathan Smith and Beau Learmonth with Attila the story Dog.

EVERYONE knows that dogs are the best people.

Less well known is that they are also great listeners with a unique Story Dogs in Schools reading program is taking off across NSW with specially selected dogs (along with their owners) listening to children read in several of our local schools.

According to the volunteer coordinator of the program in the Northern Rivers, Lenna Kelson, "dogs make wonderful non judgemental listeners and reading to them is a way for children to relax and enjoy the act of reading."

"Children facing challenges with their reading just basically just need practice, but there are just not enough reading support teachers to go around, so this is where the dogs come in.

The children get to sit and read to the dog for twenty minutes at a time

"Dogs are highly intuitive and enjoy the company and the attention, sometime they even put their paws on the page

Mauro and Rosa are local dogs owners who regularly take their Burmese Mountain Dog Attila to Byron Public School for children to read to him.

The couple are both chefs at 100 Mile Table in the Byron Arts and Industry Estate and last weekend they staged a fund raising banquet there to raise money for the story dogs program.

They donated their time and all the ingredients for the banquet that aimed to raise money to cover the $500 it costs to insure each dog in the program

All the dogs that take part in the program are assessed by experts to ensure they are of the right temperament.

Dogs and their owners are in the school once a week for two hours at a time

Ms Kelson and her dog Sooti regularly listen to children read in local schools

"I take a bag of books along with me and the children can read from a book that uis not necessarily part of their school curriculum," she said.

To take part in the program or to donate to Story Dogs: 0427 360 392 .

Topics:  byron bay public school

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