Pupils from Maplefields School in Corby, Northamptonshire headed to Crufts yesterday to celebrate World Book Day.
To mark the occasion at the world’s biggest dog show, the pupils, aged between 8 and 14, read to Danny the Greyhound, a Reading Education Assistance Dog, one of the five charities that the Kennel Club’s Bark & Read Foundation supports.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary said: “World Book Day is a celebration of books and reading, and is marked in over 100 countries all over the world. In celebration of this for the first day of Crufts, pupils read to Danny, a Greyhound, to promote the wonderful benefits of children reading to dogs.
“The Kennel Club Bark & Read Foundation was started in November 2011 and some of the results we have seen since the beginning have been fantastic. We have seen many schools noting a marked improvement in pupils’ reading levels since getting involved in Bark & Read, as it offers the children the chance to read aloud in a unique and fun way, without pressure or fear of judgement.”
Maplefields is a specialist Behaviour Emotional and Social College and Academy based in Corby, Northamptonshire. The school caters for pupils aged 5 to 19 years old with severe behaviour, emotional and social difficulties. Danny is a regular visitor to Maplefields school and was even mentioned by Ofsted in their report as an example of good practice.
Lynda Morgan, Headteacher at Maplefields school, commented: “Over the three years many children in our school have had the opportunity to read to Danny and this has boosted their reading ability with some moving up as much as three years in one academic year. Danny has also and just as importantly helped children to become more confident with their reading and generally to improve their self- esteem.
“The children really enjoyed visiting Crufts and telling visitors how much they enjoy their reading time with Danny, which we all value so much.”
The Bark & Read Foundation is funded by the Kennel Club Charitable Trust, and supports the following charities: Pets As Therapy, through their Read 2 Dogs programme; Reading Education Assistance Dogs (READ); Dogs Helping Kids, Caring Canines and the Google Literacy Project. The Bark & Read initiative improves pupils’ literacy skills and confidence through encouraging them to read to a non-judgemental companion and is free for schools to take part.
For more information visit www.thekennelclub.org.uk/barkandread or visit the Bark & Read stand in Hall 3 Stand 60 at Crufts.