Bark and Read

Teacher, student and dog reading a book

About The Bark and Read Foundation

The Bark and Read Foundation helps dogs to help children develop a passion for reading. It was set up to support and promote the amazing work of charities tackling the UK's literacy problems by taking dogs into schools as reading volunteers.

Funded by The Kennel Club Educational Trust, the Bark and Read Foundation is working with charities, social enterprises and individuals in schools and libraries around the UK, helping children to read with their specially-trained support dogs.

The foundation also supports other projects where dogs are helping children to read.

Read our Bark and Read Standards of Practice.

Get involved

If you would like one of the Bark and Read sponsored dogs to visit your school, community group or other organisation, or if you have a dog that you think might be suitable as a reading volunteer please contact Ciara Farrell on 020 7518 1009 or send an email.

Did you know that dogs love books too?

Reading to dogs helps children develop their reading skills, encourages positive behaviour and helps build confidence and self esteem. Reading to dogs inspires children to have fun and enjoy the experience of reading. All over the country, children are learning to love reading with the support of these amazing doggy companions.

You can read some of their testimonials below.

Why do we run Bark and Read?

Reading to dogs has been proven to help children develop literacy skills and build confidence, through both the calming effect the presence of dogs has on children and due to the fact that the dog will listen to the children read without being judgemental or critical. This comforting environment helps to nurture children's enthusiasm for reading and provides them with the confidence needed to read aloud.

When children are trying to read in a room with dogs, they become less stressed, less self conscious and more confident. If children are partnered with a dog to read to, the dog provides comfort, encourages positive social behaviour, enhances self-esteem, motivates speech and inspires children to have fun and enjoy the experience of reading.

Learn more about our wonderful partner charities who help make Bark and Read happen.

Who runs Bark and Read?

The Bark and Read Foundation

The Bark and Read Foundation was set up by The Kennel Club Educational Trust and provides grant aid to charities that send dogs to schools as "reading volunteers". These grants help charities and volunteers to provide their services at no cost to schools and enables them to reach more children and young people who can benefit from reading with dogs.

The Kennel Club Educational Trust

The Kennel Club Educational Trust is a dedicated dog charity which looks after the health and welfare of all dogs by funding a wide variety of work ranging from supporting research into canine diseases, dog welfare organisations and the promotion of support dogs.

Learn more about The Kennel Club Educational Trust and the work they do.

Testimonials

Anna Wilson, author of The Smug Pug and Pup Idol

"Reading aloud and storytelling have always been very important to me. As an author, I go into schools and see how reading stories aloud can help build confidence and improve literacy skills. Reading to dogs is a fantastic, innovative idea - it will help boost the confidence of children who are nervous of reading aloud in front of a class, for example, and will encourage a lifelong love of books and reading, I'm sure. I frequently read to my own dog when I am trying out new passages of writing, so I can highly recommend it!"

Viviane Schwarz, author of Timothy and The Strong Pyjamas

"I know from my own experience how hard it can be to read to other people, and I am grateful to the kind animals who happily listened to me with rapt attention while I practised and learned at home. When I was in school, I could not read without a stammer, and it was a frightening ordeal that got worse every time. I hope Bark and Read will help many children to have a better learning experience, especially those who don't have a pet of their own to help them out."

Andrew Cope, author of Spy Dog

"I'm a great believer in reading aloud and, as the author of Spy Dog, I always run ideas past my trusty mutt, Lara. The Bark and Read Foundation is a great way of facilitating school and library visits with dogs, and anything that encourages children to want to read, particularly aloud, is extremely positive."

Debbie Jones, teaching assistant at Westfields Junior School, Yately, Hampshire

"All 20 reluctant readers who took part in the pilot scheme felt more confident about reading afterwards. Remarkably 60% of the children improved their reading age by three months or more in just six weeks, and all the pupils' reading age advanced by at least two months."

Comments from the children at Elliston Nursery

"When I am reading, Bonnie looks at the pictures and she likes me." - Georgie

"Bonnie makes me feel really happy when I read to her. Bonnie kisses me." - Holly

"I love Bonnie. Bonnie loves me to read to her." - Kane

Jennifer Reddecliff, P.A.T volunteer at Niton School, Niton, Isle of Wight

"We have been going for four weeks now and Holly is really beginning to form a relationship with each child. The children seem to be growing in confidence and look forward to their time with Holly. Some have behavioural difficulties and Holly acts as a calming influence as she has such a gentle nature."