Reading with Dogs
Founded by Veterinary Surgeon John Burns, the Burns Pet Nutrition Foundation has been set up to help make a difference in the lives of young people. 'Burns by your side' is a scheme aimed at children who could benefit from improved reading and communication skills. The idea which is tried and tested in the US helps children in a variety of education settings gain confidence in building their vocabulary and fluency by reading to a dog. Research has shown that reading to a dog as a companion can reduce stress levels, increase relaxation and provide a comfortable situation where there is no peer pressure. A dog is a compassionate listener and doesn't judge.
We are very lucky to have Harvey, a golden retriever, and his skilled handler Jason come to our school every week. Last week Jason introduced Harvey to 2nd, 3rd and 4th classes. He talked to the children about the best way to approach a dog, how to pet a dog and what to do if they are ever in a situation where they feel threatened by a dog.
Some lucky pupils have been chosen to read with Harvey on a one to one basis. We hope they enjoy it and that it will bring them many benefits.