Community News

Rusty and his handler Kathy at Gillwinga Public School. Image: contributed.

What is a ‘Story Dog’?

Story Dogs is a reading support program where selected children read to an accredited dog and its handler.

Story Dogs mission is to Make reading fun for children, so they become confident, lifelong readers. No child should be left behind in literacy. They visit participating schools to help children improve their reading skills by listening, not judging, and having fun with the child. Which helps to improve the child’s focus, reading skills and in turn the child’s confidence soars.

Rusty and his handler Kathy are the Clarence Valleys first Story Dog team. They visit Gillwinga Public School in South Grafton each week to listen one on one to a pre-selected group of children who benefit from Rusty’s calm and relaxed manner. 

Story Dogs is mainly directed towards Yr. 2 children who need help for a variety of reasons with their reading skills. With the added challenge of Covid 19 and the disruption to schooling over the last couple of years this situation is likely to rise.

Story Dogs helps 2705 children, they have 541 dog teams and work in 349 schools across Australia each week. If you have a calm gentle dog who loves, children, being patted and you would like to join a passionate team of volunteers who help children become enthusiastic about reading, Story Dogs maybe the answer. We have been lucky enough to acquire the expertise of Mandy Sansom as our dog assessor for the area. If you can’t spare the time and would like to help maybe you would consider sponsoring a dog team to continue the growth of Story Dogs in our region.

For more information, please get in contact with the Clarence Valley’s Story dog coordinator Kathy Lark on 0410 978 428            

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