Narellan Library will soon have four-legged visitors helping children learn how to read.
Paws Pet Therapy, established in 2012, is a charitable organisation that trains volunteers and their dogs to provide specialised pet therapy to people with special needs.
The organisation is planning to begin a new program in the Narellan Library from May.
“We did a pilot program in Nowra and now Camden will be one of our new sites,” Paws Pet Therapy president Sharon Stewart said.
“Camden is an important site for use to establish our program as it is close to where we operate.”
The organisation also runs a literacy program, Paws’n’Tales.
It is a pet assisted reading program that has expanded into 20 libraries and schools including in Camden, Bowral and Shoalhaven.
The program trains volunteers and their dogs to help children with reading difficulties increase their literacy skills and confidence.
“The sessions are one-to-one and go for about 20 minutes a session,” Mrs Stewart said.
“The children feel comfortable with the dog and they don’t feel judged. It improves their confidence and self-esteem.”
Ms Stewart encouraged more schools or libraries in the region to get involved.
“The program targets kids aged four to eight with literacy problems,” she said.
“The children’s confidence and self-esteem are boosted because they are reading to a nice, friendly dog who is not a teacher.”
The children who participated in the pilot program at Nowra Library increased their reading levels by two and they started to love reading.
“The program allows the child to be a teacher to the dog, they have more control and they take ownership of their reading,” Ms Stewart said.
“The kids are happier to pick up a book, they practice, and they want to read to the dog.
“Some kids tried out for a new sport or drama performance.”
Volunteers and their dogs are welcome to contact Ms Stewart for more information on 0418 869 181 or email@example.com.
To sign up, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 4645 5059. Visit: www.pawspettherapy.com
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