Children share their favourite tales with furry friends at Norfolk libraries

08 August 2018

There are tales (and tails) aplenty as Norfolk County Council’s libraries welcome some furry friends to help young children with their reading this summer.

Pets as Therapy (PAT) Dogs and their owners are visiting libraries to help children practise their reading skills during the school holidays, as part of their Read2Dogs scheme.

Carole Adam, Volunteer Area Coordinator for Pets As Therapy, said:  “Research shows that children can become nervous and stressed when reading to others in a group or reading aloud in class.  However, reading to a PAT Dog can help them feel less self-conscious and more confident.  The Read2Dogs sessions enable children to improve their reading skills in a fun, relaxed atmosphere, helping to enhance their confidence and self-esteem, motivate speech and encourage positive social behaviours.

"All across the UK, demand for our free community service outstrips volunteer availability.  If you have some time to spare and you think your dog could fulfil the criteria to become a therapy dog, then please consider becoming a volunteer with us. You can find more information on our website at petsastherapy.org."

Councillor Margaret Dewsbury, Chairman of Norfolk County Council’s Communities Committee, said:  “This is particularly timely, as we recently launched our Summer Reading Challenge to encourage children to keep up their reading over the summer holidays.  Helping children to become confident readers is so important and we’re pleased to welcome the PAT volunteers and their dogs to the libraries.  We hope these sessions will help to show our young customers that reading can be fun and not something to worry about.”

Libraries across Norfolk are hosting free Read2Dogs sessions, open to children over the age of three and their parents/carers.  Children have the opportunity to meet and learn about their PAT Dog before they begin to read, and interact with the dog during their session, explaining the story and showing pictures from the book they are reading.

The sessions also provide children with an ideal opportunity to read towards their six books to complete the Mischief Makers Summer Reading Challenge, which launched in libraries across the county on Saturday 14 July.

More Read2Dogs sessions will be taking place at libraries over the next few weeks. For more information about sessions near you, please contact your local library.

  • Acle - Friday 10 August - 2.30pm
  • Attleborough - Saturday 11 August and Thursday 16 August - 2pm 
  • Costessey - Fridays 10, 17, 24 and 31 August - 10am-12 noon 
  • Downham - Thursdays 9, 16, 23 and 30 August – 3-4pm 
  • Earlham - Thursdays 16 and 23 August - 3-4pm
  • Fakenham - Tuesday 21 and 28 August - 10.30-11.30am 
  • Gaywood - Wednesday 15 August - 10-11am / Thursday - 30 August - 1-2pm
  • Gorleston - Wednesday 15 August - 10am-12 noon / Fridays 10 and 17 August - 10.30am-12.30pm 
  • Great Yarmouth - Thursday 23 August - 2-4pm
  • Hellesdon - Thursdays 9 and 23 August – 10am-12 noon / Thursdays 16 and 30 August – 2-4pm / Monday 20 August - 1-3pm
  • Holt - Times will be published on the library events page
  • Loddon - Monday 20 August - 2-3pm
  • Norwich Millennium - Friday 31 August - 3-4pm
  • Plumstead Road - Wednesdays 15, 22 and 29 August - 2-4pm
  • Sheringham - Wednesday 29 August - 1.30pm-3.30pm
  • Swaffham - Thursday 16 August - 3-4pm
  • Sprowston - Wednesday 15 August - 2pm
  • Watton - Wednesday 15 August - 3-4pm / Monday - 20 August - 2-3pm
  • Wroxham - Wednesday 29 and Friday 31 August - 10am-12 noon 

Pets As Therapy established their Read2Dogs scheme in 2010. V olunteers and their doggy companions now visit 400 schools all over the country to help children increase their confidence and enjoyment of reading.  To find out more, visit petsastherapy.org

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