Zacky offers a helping paw to boost confidence of pupils while reading

Zacky the reader dog with Pets As Therapy volunteer Nicola Stock and year 4 pupils at Newick CE Primary School. Picture by Ron Hill (HillPhotograpic) SUS-180130-165315001
Zacky the reader dog with Pets As Therapy volunteer Nicola Stock and year 4 pupils at Newick CE Primary School. Picture by Ron Hill (HillPhotograpic) SUS-180130-165315001

Zacky the reader dog has been visiting children at Newick CE Primary school weekly to help improve the children’s confidence with their reading.

Class teacher, Miss Emma Parsons said: “Many children can sometimes find reading to an adult intimidating as they are aware that any mistakes they make will be corrected and in some cases they struggle to then enjoy the reading process.

“Reading to Zacky, removes this worry, as Zacky cannot pass comment and simply enjoys sitting with the children.

“The children have loved reading to him. They each spend 15 minutes happily sitting in our reading corner, reading and perhaps enjoying a cuddle with Zacky whilst practicing their reading.

“Seeing the joy that he brings to the children has been fantastic and working with Nicola Stock and Pets as Therapy has been a real pleasure.

“To show our support for the charity, the class recently organised a ‘doggy themed’ cake sale to raise funds for the organisation and raised a brilliant £97!”

The dog is taken into a classroom and kept at all times on a lead and under the control of volunteer Nicola Stock, who initially introduces herself, and her dog – his name, breed, age and what they enjoy, and a little about them being a special visitors.

The students are also told how much the dog enjoys hearing stories.

Teachers are in charge and in attendance constantly.

The volunteer holds her dog on a lead, but the student(s) are allowed to sit on cushions close, so they can interact with the dog.

The dog is then be used in many ways, for example the teacher may say ‘Zacky can’t hear you and would really like to hear this story, can you speak up so that Zacky can hear?’ or, ‘Zacky doesn’t know that word , can you tell him what it means?’

The dog can also be shown pictures and the children explain to the dog what the pictures are.

For more information about Pets As Therapy, visit https://petsastherapy.org/