Children read to therapy dog at Wigan township library

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The scheme aims to build literacy skills and instil a love of reading in young people.

Cliff the dog and his owner Kathryn Lees often visit libraries across Wigan to help children develop their reading skills.

It is part of the Pets As Therapy Read2Dogs scheme, in which young people read aloud to the animals to increase confidence, interest, and enjoyment.

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Standish Library had a visit from Cliff this half-term, where he acted as a non-judgmental listener for the children to relax around.

Kathryn Lees and her reading dog Cliff hold a session in Standish Library during half-term.Kathryn Lees and her reading dog Cliff hold a session in Standish Library during half-term.
Kathryn Lees and her reading dog Cliff hold a session in Standish Library during half-term.

They had fun telling Cliff stories and showing him the pictures in their books.

Reading to others or in public can seem very daunting to them, but the pooch’s presence reduced self-consciousness and nerves.

The young readers also improved their awareness of the needs of the pet at the free session, as well as giving Cliff plenty of strokes and cuddles.

Keen volunteer Kathryn said: “He loves it.

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Children read to Cliff to develop their confidence in reading out loud.Children read to Cliff to develop their confidence in reading out loud.
Children read to Cliff to develop their confidence in reading out loud.

“He just gets on his back and has a belly rub, and has a lovely time.”

The duo have previously attended libraries in Leigh, Aspull, and Orrell.

Pets As Therapy additionally visit schools, helping shy readers and those who struggle with their attention span.

Therapy animals are used for their physical and emotional health benefits and to enhance communication abilities.

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