Erik’s vis­its a tale of fun

Comment News (Armadale) - - News -

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.

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