Earlier this year Mrs Lewins brought her dog Dotty into school. Some of the children read to Dotty, she enjoyed it. Dotty had a kind, loving nature and was well suited around the children.
Why did we do dog reading?
· Reading – reading to dogs has been proven to help children develop literacy skills and build confidence, through both the calming effect the dog’s presence has on children as well as the fact that a dog will listen to children read without being judgemental or critical. This comforting environment helps to nurture children’s enthusiasm for reading and provides them with the confidence to read aloud.
· Cognitive – companionship with a dog stimulates memory, problem-solving and game-playing
· Social – a dog provides a positive mutual topic for discussion, encourages responsibility, wellbeing and focused interaction with others
· Emotional – a school dog improves self-esteem, acceptance from others and lifts mood, often provoking laughter and fun. Dogs can also teach compassion and respect for other living things as well as relieving anxiety.
· Physical – interaction with a furry friend reduces blood pressure, provides tactile stimulation, assists with pain management, gives motivation to move, walk and stimulates the senses
· Environmental – a dog in a school increases the sense of a family environment, with all of the above benefits continuing long after the school day is over.