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Yarra Plenty library to expand Doggy Tales reading program

Yarra Plenty Regional Library (YPRL) in Victoria is seeking dogs for its Doggy Tales program, which helps children struggling with literacy by giving them the opportunity to read to dogs.

The Doggy Tales program helps children improve their reading skills by removing the fear they may encounter when reading to people. Diamond Valley Library reading coordinator Irvine Tammes, who runs the program, said the dogs ‘increase relaxation and lower blood pressure, listen attentively, do not judge, laugh or criticise, allow children to proceed at their own pace, and are less intimidating than peers or adults’.

There are currently two dogs in the Doggy Tales program in Diamond Valley and Eltham libraries, and YPRL is seeking extra dogs to expand the program to Mill Park, Ivanhoe and Rosanna libraries. Dogs must be at least one year old, must pass an accreditation test carried out by a dog trainer, and must be vaccinated and groomed, with regular vet checks. ‘The dog’s temperament, obedience, willingness and other training is of utmost importance,’ said Tammes.

As part of the program, parents can book their child for a 15-minute session, in which they can talk to a dog in a quiet area of the library. ‘The non-judgmental, loving nature of dogs gives this program its magic. Children relax, open up, try harder and have fun reading with a dog,’ said Tammes.

Lachlan, an eight-year-old Smooth Collie, has become the mascot for the 2014 Victorian Premiers’ Reading Challenge. The website asks children to write stories to Lachlan, which will later be placed online, and features a video of the dog.

More information is available from the YPRL website here. Lachlan has a Facebook page here.



Category: Library news