Lucky pupils at Abbotsweld Primary Academy, part of our Harlow Cluster, are developing a real passion for reading, thanks to their new Reading Dog, Calli.
The happy pooch, who ‘nose’ a good book when she hears one, gives them extra ‘paws’ for thought when choosing what to read. Pupils jump at the chance to read to her! Calli, the six-year-old Labrador, has been chosen for her calm and gentle nature, explained owner and Assistant Head, Mrs Natasha Nee.
After seeing Calli building children’s confidence by listening to them read in a pressure-free environment, Mrs Nee commented,
“It is amazing to see the newfound love of reading and the sheer excitement on the children’s faces when they know they are going to get the opportunity to read to Calli! She has quickly become part of our school and she has given me a new connection with the children.”
Abbotsweld Primary Academy has also enlisted help from the Dog’s Trust to carry out training for all pupils in order to build their knowledge of how to care for, and how to behave around dogs. This means that they are confident when reading to Calli, or when they see her around school during the day. Children and staff thoroughly enjoy their interaction with Calli, and along with listening to the children read, Calli has also begun inspiring their writing!
Eden (Topaz Class) commented,
“Calli makes me feel happy and want to read more.”
Joshua (Topaz Class) said,
“I like reading to Calli because she’s so calm and she listens to me.”
Research has shown how children can benefit educationally and emotionally through contact with a suitable dog. Calli has played a fundamental role in supporting children with reading at Abbotsweld, as well as increasing their understanding of responsibility, empathy and nurturing skills.