Erik’s visits a tale of fun
A CUTE, small and furry little dog called Erik is putting his great listening skills to good use with the young students at John Wollaston Anglican Community School.
Erik and his handler Sam Pilgrim-Byrne visit the Year 2 students every week to give them a chance to read to the dog in a judgment free and relaxed environment.
Erik and Ms Pilgrim-Byrne are one of the teams from notfor-profit organisation Story Dogs, whose aim is to make reading fun for children and turn them into confident and lifelong readers.
Ms Pilgrim-Byrne said a student would spend about 20 minutes reading one-on-one with Erik, adding that having an animal around helped to promote relaxation, lowered fears of being laughed at or criticised and gave the children the chance to work at their own pace.
John Wollaston ACS primary inclusive education co-ordinator Michelle Willis said the students looked forward to Erik’s visits and they had improved their literacy skills.
Ms Pilgrim-Byrne said each story dog team cost $500 a year to run and while the Successbased WA Veterinary and Emergency Specialists helped with herself and Erik, other teams were without this vital support.
To volunteer as a team or sponsor a team, visit www. storydogs.org.au.