Kids and dogs listening to a reading session on Anzac Day.
Minnie with kids and books.
Oscar holding a book in a classic 'Canine Comprehension' reading pose.
Sarah, Minnie and Oscar ready for another Reading Corner.
Well it has been a busy weekend at CCHQ.
Saturday 25th April we had our Anzac reading sessions at Rainy Day Books, The Basin. Despite the horrid rain and cold we did have some tough little readers come out and support the event. I set up outside, at the front of the bookstore, so we could make good use of the large easement which sheltered us from the rain. A large couch, bright rugs, picnic rugs and comfy pillows made it all the more inviting. Anzac posters, children’s picture books and of course the canine coaches kept our little readers attention.
For our first session our little readers snuggled into the dogs and listened to me read ‘The Anzac Puppy’ – it was terrific to see the kids listening intently to the story while stroking Minnie and Oscar. Once I finished the story, the children seemed to gain confidence and happily went to our box of books, picked out their choice and continued reading with the dogs. Children are often self-conscious when reading aloud in front of others. By sitting down next Minnie and Oscar and reading, all concerns of being judged are forgotten. The child relaxes, pats the friendly dog, and focuses on the reading.
The second session, had more little readers listening to me read ‘Lest we Forget’. It was great watching the kids make the connections with the Anzac ceremony many of them just participated in and the book we were reading. Again, after that session kids kept looking through the box of books and finding another gem they wanted to read through with the dogs.
It made me happy to also see parents sit down with their kids and the dogs and read with their children. As studies have shown that spending time with dogs can lower high blood pressure and increase the "feel good" brain chemicals serotonin and dopamine, I’m sure everyone at the event was feeling happy, thanks to the dogs!
A big thanks to all involved with the day. An especially big thank you to Minnie and Oscar. All three of us went home exhausted! Having a trained therapy dog working with children in this way means the dog is always being asked to move, turn around, sit up, lie down and find the best position for the reader. They are also often among loud noises, lots of action and constantly have little hands on them. This is not a job for just any dog and the training Minnie and Oscar have received makes them well adjusted to dealing with such an event. Through training we can make sure the dog looks happy, relaxed and interested in the reading sessions – keeping our little readers happy, relaxed and interested too.