HOPE ISLAND resident Gina Salier’s Jack Russell Becci is no ordinary dog – she helps kids learn to read.
Becci is part of a creative new reading program called Story Dogs, which involves primary school children reading to dogs in order to develop their literacy skills and confidence.
For the past 12 months Becci has been helping 7-8 year-old children with one-on-one Story Dogs sessions at Labrador State School.
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The Story Dogs team consists of generous volunteers and their accredited pooches who provide a comfortable and non-intimidating environment to help children develop their reading abilities.
Mrs Salier says there are numerous benefits of the Story Dogs program which extend beyond improving a child’s reading skills.
“The best part about the program is that reading becomes fun instead of being a chore, especially for those who may lack confidence,” Mrs Salier said.
An important aspect of the volunteer-based reading program is contributions from sponsors, who help with the ongoing costs associated with being an accredited Story Dog.
Becci is sponsored by Halcyon, a developer of over 50’s communities in Southeast Queensland.
Mrs Salier says Halcyon’s sponsorship of Becci is vital as it covers the costs associated with the program, including training, assessment, vet checks, a dog vest, insurance, books and a shirt for the handler.
“Many of the sponsors, like Halcyon, don’t get an obvious business benefit so this program really does bring out community spirit, which is wonderful,” said Salier.
For more information on Story Dogs, click here.