Story time with a dif­fer­ence

Dalby Herald - - NEWS - Sam Flana­gan Sam.Flana­gan@dal­by­her­ald.com.au

A MOV­ING in­no­va­tion which has made its way into a Dalby school aims to progress the read­ing con­fi­dence and com­pe­tence of chil­dren.

Story Dogs, which was founded in Mur­willum­bah in 2009 by Leah Shel­don and Ja­nine Sigley, has since gone na­tional.

A vol­un­teer brings in their beloved ca­nine to school so chil­dren who strug­gle with read­ing can sim­ply read to the dog, away from the class, with­out judge­ment or pres­sure.

Now in a re­gional Queens­land first, Story Dogs has be­gun work with Our Lady of the South­ern Cross col­lege Year 2 stu­dents.

Lyn Clancy and her black labrador, Sammy, are the dy­namic duo which has taken on the task of help­ing to raise lit­er­acy lev­els of our chil­dren.

“I have a friend who has done it for eight years and was fas­ci­nated by it,” Ms Clancy said.

“She rang me about it and said why don’t you set some­thing up in the coun­try.

“I was work­ing at the time so it was hard to find time... but now I can do it.

“When I was given the op­por­tu­nity, I couldn’t say no.”

Ms Clancy’s pas­sion of read­ing was the spark be­hind her join­ing the group, and she knew Sammy would be the per­fect ear for chil­dren.

“I love to read and I feel for kids who haven’t got a love for it. I hope they get to love read­ing and want to read.

“Sammy is such a beau­ti­ful dog, the kids adore him and he just sits there and laps it up.”

JJ Green­away is one stu­dent who reads to Sammy every week and has rel­ished the op­por­tu­nity.

“My read­ing has got­ten bet­ter and it’s a lot more fun to read to Sammy than read in the class­rooom,” JJ said.

Class­mate Quin­ten Chard, also one of Sammy’s read­ing part­ners, re­it­er­ated the sen­ti­ments.

“I just love ev­ery­thing about it,” Quin­ten said.

Ms Clancy hopes Sammy’s story is the cat­a­lyst for many more peo­ple to get in­volved in the pro­gram.

“I hope more peo­ple do get in­volved be­cause they (re­gional schools) really need it,” Ms Clancy said.

“I would like to see other peo­ple step up and find out about Story Dogs and what we do... but it’s es­sen­tial the dog is good na­tured.

“It’s just so im­por­tant that kids learn to love to read.”

❝ — JJ Green­away

PHOTO: SAM FLANA­GAN

BEST MATES: Jake Grif­fiths and JJ Green­away, from OLSCC, with Story Dog Sammy.

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