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No shaggy dog story: Pets as Therapy help school children with literacy

A school in Inverness asks the organisation Pets as Therapy to help their pupils who struggle with literacy

The Big Issue knows better than most how important animals can be in easing problems like loneliness and anxiety.

But now a primary school in Inverness is also showing that man’s best friend can be the perfect companion for children who struggle with literacy.

Not only does this have a direct impact upon their reading, but it also impacts on their enjoyment of reading

Crown Primary invited retrievers Blue and Morna into class to be patient and non-judgmental listeners for reluctant readers.

Teacher Hannah Earnshaw suggested the plan after researching the ways pets can boost pupils’ confidence.

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Ms Earnshaw, whose aunt volunteers for charity Pets as Therapy, said: “The kids that are reading to the dogs rather than reading to me improved significantly more in a reading test than the ones just reading to me.

“Also, the children who read to the dogs enjoyed the reading experience more than the kids that read to me.

“So to me that suggests that not only does it have a direct impact on reading, it also impacts on their enjoyment of reading.”

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