Dog helps kids to read at Shrewsbury school

A rescue dog is helping to boost the reading skills of Shrewsbury schoolchildren through an innovative scheme which sees him join pupils in the classroom.

Max the German Shepherd, who spent part of his life at the dogs’ home in Roden, is providing a listening ear for youngsters at Grange Primary School in Harlescott.

The Reading with Dogs project has been organised by his owner Catherine Triance who is Head of English at Sundorne School and Sports College, which like Grange Primary is also part of the Shrewsbury Academies Trust.

Miss Triance said: “There is a surprising amount of research to support the idea that children find reading to a dog far less stressful and intimidating, and more enjoyable than reading to an adult.

“Max has been brought up with children and is very gentle – I’m sure he also greatly enjoys the experience.

“It will hopefully encourage youngsters to take part and to provide a bit of a novelty value.”

Ten-year-old Ella Corfield is one of the Grange pupils who has been practising her reading with Max.

She said: “I really enjoy reading to him as it makes me feel at ease – it also helps that I love dogs and have got two at home.”

The programme, which aims to help pupils with both their fluency and the speed of their reading, involves them taking part in 20-minute sessions during the school day.

The reading scheme is also benefitting from the help of students from Sundorne School and Sports College who are accompanying Miss Triance and Max.

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Pete White Pete White

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