Clifton Hills Primary School hopes to sniff out reading dog helpers for students


Jesse Smith and Kaitlyn Barnett with Zoe. Picture: Bruce Hunt d481452
Jesse Smith and Kaitlyn Barnett with Zoe. Picture: Bruce Hunt d481452

A COUPLE of furry, four-legged volunteers are needed at a Kelmscott school to help students with their reading.

Clifton Hills Primary School is looking to introduce Story Dogs into their classrooms, a program which trains dogs and their owners to give children who need a bit of extra help a non-judgemental friend to read to.

Clifton Hills PS deputy principal Patricia Della Franca said dogs are the perfect partner to help children who are reluctant, lacking confidence or experiencing anxieties around reading.

“At Clifton Hills we endeavour to cater for all children in a supportive and inclusive manner and want to ensure we provide every opportunity available to support children to reach their potential,” she said.

“When children read to a dog there are many positives: they have fun, they are not judged, their focus improves, their reading skills increase and their confidence soars.

“Not all students in this day and age are able to confidently speak up and read aloud and story dogs provide a positive way for children to engage with reading.

“If using this program helps one more child become a reader for life then the program is worth its weight in gold.”

Ms Della Franca said the hope was they would have a dog for all 19 of their classes.

“By volunteering one hour a week, a volunteer can make a huge difference to a child-you could inspire a child to be a lifelong learner and reader for life,” she said.

Locals interested in becoming a Story Dogs volunteer can download an application form from www.storydogs.org.au or contact Linda Williams at linda@storydogs.org.au.

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