An initiative helping children improve their reading skills while surrounded by lovable dogs needs volunteers for several schools across the region.
Story Dogs began on the Sunshine Coast four years ago and was adopted from the United States program that began in the early 2000s to make reading enjoyable for children.
Buderim Region Story Dogs coordinator Carolyn Healy says the need for what they do is growing, and to grow, she needs more volunteers.
Ms Healy and her seven-year-old Labrador-cross Molly have been part of the program for more than three years.
“Molly and I started volunteering with Story Dogs early 2017 at Buderim Mountain State School where we work with four year two students for approximately 20 minutes each student one morning each week,” Ms Healy says.
“Story Dogs is an Australia-wide literacy program where the students are encouraged to read to our dog in a non-threatening, non-judgemental environment.
“This relaxed, fun way helps build confidence and self-esteem by having one-to-one contact for a short time each week.”
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The program is also proving particularly successful for children with literacy or behavioural problems.
Ms Healy is desperate for more volunteers to help at state schools in Buderim, Brightwater, Chevallum, Montville and Mountain Creek.
“We need people who have time, approximately 1.5 hours per week, on a set day each week who own a calm, happy child-friendly dog.”
Ms Healy said since she began, Molly has become a crowd favourite with the students.
“My dog Molly just loves the attention of the students at Buderim Mountain State School and perhaps the treats she gets for being such a good listener may help as well.”
Buderim Story Dogs is also looking for corporate or private sponsors to help keep the program running.
Dogs and volunteers must go through relevant checks and training prior to becoming part of the program.
For more information contact: 0419 742 727.