Story dogs wag their tales in class

Aiden BoyhamSound Telegraph
Students from Waikiki Primary wore their best and brightest orange clothes as they aimed to raise funds for the Story Dogs program.
Camera IconStudents from Waikiki Primary wore their best and brightest orange clothes as they aimed to raise funds for the Story Dogs program. Credit: Aiden Boyham

Students at Waikiki Primary School donned their brightest outfits to celebrate Story Dogs Day last Friday, with a fundraiser held to help boost the national charity.

The school held the fundraiser in a bid to boost the Story Dogs program.

The initiative sees students with reading difficulties read to volunteer dogs to boost their confidence levels.

Deputy principal Darlene Gostelow said there were five students at the school currently involved in the program, who read to volunteer dog Poppy.

“The reluctant readers are usually not keen to participate in small groups or the class, so by reading to the dogs it is building their confidence which is exactly what we want,” Ms Gostelow said.

“From a school perspective it’s lovely having the dogs in ... the program is evidence based and it does improve student reading.”

Rockingham Story Dogs co-ordinator Lindy Ettridge said money from fundraisers would help put more dogs and volunteers in schools across the area.

The Story Dogs program was first introduced in WA almost two years ago and has grown steadily in popularity.

Co-founder Janine Sigley said the Story Dogs initiative even went beyond helping struggling students with just their reading skills.

“So often we see students who are struggling to read and who are also very shy or lacking self-confidence,” Ms Sigley said.

“The dogs help them relax, open up, try harder and then we see their self-confidence soar.

“The improvement in reading levels just follows along.”

To help donate or volunteer visit storydogs.org.au.

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