The SHARE Reading dogs program is run by the Animal Welfare League Queensland (AWLQ) – one of the largest animal organisations in Queensland committed to the re-homing of abandoned cats and dogs.
This particular program involves a dog and it’s handler going into classrooms to assist students with reading difficulties with SHARE standing for ‘Special Human-Animal Relationships in Education’.
How SHARE Reading dogs help students
Dogs are wonderful listeners. They don’t judge or criticise, so by having a dog go into the classroom each week for students to read to them, it can really assist those who struggle with reading by giving them confidence and motivation.
To further help encourage a bond between the student and dog, which also then helps the children to gain more confidence and self-esteem, students are visited by the same SHARE Reading dog and handler where students read aloud to the dog for a set amount of time.
Such an environment allows children to feel less self-conscious about their reading, as dogs don’t worry if a child stutters or mispronounces a word.
Promoting responsible pet ownership
In addition to story dogs, the AWLQ take rescue dogs into classrooms, arrange school excursions to their own re-homing and education centre, and run curriculum based courses so that students can be involved in hands-on learning about responsible companion animal care.
The AWLQ recognises that by enabling children to bond with dogs, and learn more about responsible pet ownership, this helps ensure the future welfare of the companion pets they may go on to have, which in turn can help achieve their overall mission of keeping pets out of shelters.
Similar programs to the SHARE Reading dogs have been implemented in schools in the United States, New Zealand and Europe and have shown to be very effective in improving students’ negative associations with reading, increasing motivation levels, improving confidence and self esteem as well as skill levels in reading aloud.
Schools interested in becoming involved with the SHARE Reading Dogs Program, can find out more about the program and register HERE.
Our friends at PETstock help support the great work of the AWLQ through their charity foundation PETstock Assist, so if you’d like to learn more about their work, or have a charity or community initiative that is helping pets and people in need and would like to find out how you can apply for a community grant through PETstock Assist, click HERE.
About the Author: Lara Shannon is a certified dog behaviourist and trainer, Executive Producer and Host of Pooches at Play on Channel 10 and editor of Poochesatplay.com. Lara runs her own dog training business in Melbourne’s Bayside area, is a sought after pet expert speaker and Author of Eat, Play, Love (Your Dog).