A SPECIAL story time is returning to Hastings Library, where children are encouraged to read aloud to a friendly and furry, four-legged friend.
Mel, the new story dog, is nonjudgmental and doesn’t mind if a child stumbles over a word or two. She merely listens attentively and encourages children to continue reading with tail wags and the occasional lick.
Story Dogs volunteer and Mel’s owner, Hannah Mendelson, said the presence of a calm animal allowed children to practice reading with confidence in a supportive environment, without the fear of being graded or critiqued.
The accepting, loving nature of dogs gives the program its magic and helps children to relax, open up, do their best, and have fun while reading to a friendly, calm dog.
The Story Dogs literacy program has also been shown to have other advantages, such as building confidence and enhancing children’s reading abilities. A furry friend is also a great way to encourage reluctant readers to pick up a book.
Since the non-profit program started in Australia in 2009, it has helped more than 3020 children every week.
Children involved in the program at Hastings Library will be allocated a time slot between 4pm and 5.30pm on Wednesdays in term two.
To be eligible for the program, children must be able to attend Hastings Library weekly throughout the school term and be aged seven to 10. Bookings are essential.
Call Hastings Library on 5950 1710 or email email@example.com