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Doggie Tales reading scheme a hit with pupils and pooches at Yarra Plenty libraries

Jodie Guest, August 2, 2017 11:18AM Whittlesea Leader

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Timothy reading to Finn. Picture: Kylie Else media_cameraTimothy reading to Finn. Picture: Kylie Else

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Reading level: green

YOU’VE heard about book worms, but what about book dogs?

A group of Melbourne libraries is taking a different approach to reading, with a pooch pal program for kids.

Yarra Plenty Regional Library branches are rolling out their unconventional* Doggie Tales scheme across eight branches, at Lalor, Mill Park, Thomastown and Whittlesea libraries.

The program aims to encourage kids to develop their literacy skills by providing easygoing, non-judgmental canine listeners.

Library spokeswoman Marieclaire Baird said the program began three years ago with a single dog at Diamond Valley library in Greensborough and has grown to eight dog listeners.

Cameron reads to a labrador. Picture: Tim Carrafa media_cameraCameron reads to a labrador. Picture: Tim Carrafa

Since it began, more than 1200 children have read to the program dogs in the various library branches.

“Doggie Tales develops children’s verbal communication skills and offers a joyful experience,” Ms Baird said.

“It’s an innovative* way for children to practise their reading with a non-judgmental and safe canine audience.

“Potential dogs are assessed* by a qualified dog trainer for suitability and a volunteer co-ordinator trains the handler. We’re always on the lookout for new recruits*.”

Timothy reads to Finn. Picture: Kylie Else media_cameraTimothy reads to Finn. Picture: Kylie Else

Anyone interested in getting involved can email ypmail@yprl.vic.gov.au.

GLOSSARY

unconventional: unusual
innovative: new and clever

assessed: evaluated
recruits: enlisted people (or dogs)

LISTEN TO TODAY’S STORY

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES

Activity 1. Persuasive writing

Do you love the idea of having a book dog at your school or local library?
Or perhaps you have an idea of how a different type of animal could help enhance learning in another subject area?

Write a persuasive essay detailing why a program like this should happen near you.

Extension:

How many books can you think of that feature a dog as a main character? Make a list.

Time: allow 40 minutes to complete this activity

Curriculum links: English

Activity 2. Book dog mascot

Design and draw a mascot for the Doggie Tales program, making sure the mascot looks friendly and communicates what the program is about.

Write a short description of your mascot explaining your choices.

Extension:

Make a short comic strip featuring your mascot performing his book dog duties.

Time: allow 25 minutes to complete this activity

Curriculum links: English, Visual Arts

EXTRA RESOURCES

CELEBRITY VET’S PET CRUSADE

PAW-FECT RETURN FOR LOST CAT

PAWS POUND THE PAVEMENT

WOULD YOU WEAR PET HAIR?

ARE TASSIE TIGERS LIVING IN THE CITY?

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