Paws for reading

by Anonymous Author

Dogs are helping Selwyn children improve their reading skills.

The Paws for Reading programme, launched by Selwyn District Libraries this month, is a programme designed to provide an opportunity for children who are not confident reading aloud, or who need to develop their reading skills, to read to a friendly dog for 15 minutes each week.

Selwyn Libraries Manager Vicki Carlyon said they are excited about the new programme. 

“Similar programmes overseas and in New Zealand have been shown to assist most children to improve their reading fluency and confidence,” she said.

“Dogs make a great audience as they are happy to sit and listen to children, and for children who can be shy reading aloud they are ideal listeners as they don’t interrupt.”

The dogs being used in the reading programme are carefully selected by the Selwyn Dog Training Club to be suitable to work with children. The dogs are supervised by their owners while children read and library staff are also present at sessions. 

The sessions are being trialled during term two at all local libraries and are open to primary school children.

Ms Carlyon said Selwyn District Libraries staff can offer advice to parents on encouraging and supporting their child to read.

“Encouraging children to choose their own books is a great idea. If children say they don’t enjoy reading, helping them find books about things they are interested in, like horses or planes or their hobbies, can encourage them to spend time reading,” Ms Carlyon said.

The Paws for Reading sessions are free but booking is required. To book a place visit selwynlibraries.co.nz, or contact the local library.