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.
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*.”
Anyone interested in getting involved can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
innovative: new and clever
recruits: enlisted people (or dogs)
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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.
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.
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