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Reading to dogs to boost children’s literacy in Frome

OnEdition/The Kennel Club.

OnEdition/The Kennel Club.

VALLISFirst School in Frome was host to a popular children’s author to support children reading to dogs in a bid to boost literacy.

Author Anna Wilson met with the children on Thursday 6th February which coincided with National Storytelling Week. Reading to dogs can not only help with literacy, but also improves children’s self-confidence.

Organised by the Society for Storytelling, National Storytelling Week (Saturday February 1st – Saturday February 8th) aims to promote storytelling in schools, libraries, museums and art galleries across the UK. As part of the awareness week, the Kennel Club has asked schools taking part in its popular Bark and Read scheme to let children choose their favourite book to read to their canine reading partner.

Anna Wilson, whose children’s books include The Smug Pug and the new Monkey Madness: The Only Way Is Africa, has pledged her support to the Kennel Club’s Bark and Read Foundation. She visited the school with Percy, a ‘Pets as Therapy’ Clumber spaniel, to join the children reading to their four-legged friend.

Anna Wilson said, “Reading aloud and storytelling have always been very important to me. As an author, I go into schools and see how reading stories aloud can help build confidence and improve literacy skills. Reading to dogs is a fantastic, innovative idea – it will help boost the confidence of children who are nervous of reading aloud in front of a class, for example, and will encourage a lifelong love of books and reading, I’m sure. I frequently read to my own dog when I am trying out new passages of writing, so I can highly recommend it!”

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club secretary said, “We are finding that schools are noticing a marked increase in reading levels through reading to dogs, and are thrilled that Anna has kindly visited Vallis First School to help support this.”

Naomi Pauley, headteacher at Vallis First School said, “Thanks to the enthusiasm of one of my staff, Katie, Jennie and her dog Percy we have been able to offer our reluctant readers an opportunity to read to dogs for a number of years. Children are excited and motivated to read to Percy and are thrilled when he stamps their reading card. We highly recommend this initiative.”

For more information on the Bark and Read Foundation, and the benefits of children reading aloud to dogs, visit www.thekennel

Picture credit: OnEdition/The Kennel Club.