The Bark and Read Foundation helps dogs to help children develop a passion for reading. This valuable project couldn't happen without the work of our partner charities.
Canine Concern Scotland
Canine Concern Scotland Trust provides reading dogs to schools and libraries in Scotland as part of their Therapets programme. They aim to encourage young people who lack confidence with reading to come along to one of their regular sessions where, instead of reading to a person, they have the opportunity to read to a Therapet dog. A Therapet dog will listen to them and not judge, allowing them to relax, to gain confidence in their own ability and improve their enjoyment of reading.
Phone: 0131 553 0034.
Email: Canine Concern Scotland.
Tony Nevett and Danny
Tony is a pioneer of reading with dogs in the UK and has been involved in this work for eight years. With rescue greyhound Danny, he visits schools and libraries nationwide to introduce the concept of reading with dogs to whole school communities and to encourage them to set up their own programmes. He works in groups and one on one with children to help them learn to love reading, overcome shyness and increase their confidence, and improve concentration and behaviour.
Though Tony and Danny work independently, Danny is trained and registered as an assistance and education dog with Pets As Therapy and the Blue Cross, and with the READ (Reading Education Assistance Dogs) programme in the USA, which first pioneered reading with dogs.
Email: Tony and Danny.
Dogs for Good - Community Dogs for Schools
Dogs for Good trains assistance, activity and therapy dogs to work with specialist handlers in homes, communities and schools. Launched in 2014, their Community Dogs for Schools programme has been exploring how a dog, working alongside a professional dog handler, teachers and therapists, can bring benefits to students in two special educational needs schools, Round Oak School in Warwickshire and Stocklake Park School in the Vale of Aylesbury.
Email: Dogs for Good.
From Fear To Friend
The aim of this voluntary group From Fear To Friend is to help children who have a fear of dogs to overcome this fear and learn to relax and be around dogs without worrying. One of the successful tools they use to do this is reading to dogs. Founded by qualified dog trainers Ann Cook and Steph Page, they hold weekend and evening sessions in the Reigate area and are branching out into school visits as well.
Email: From Fear to Friend.
Canine Assisted Intervention Therapy (CAIT) programme
CAIT is a school visiting programme devised by qualified dog trainer Vicki Turnbull, who also holds a BA (Hons) in Childhood and Youth Studies. CAIT can be adapted to provide tailored support for children in reading, language development, confidence, stress management or a specific curriculum subject. It draws on children's natural enthusiasm for engaging with animals. Vicki is based in Worcestershire.
The Bear Bones of Education
A qualified teacher with over 30 years of professional experience, Sandy Childs lives and works in the Lake District with her Golden Retriever Jeeves. Her focus is on helping children and teenagers who need additional support with reading and writing, with having the confidence to speak in class and with maintaining concentration and focus.
Email: The Bear Bones of Education.
Burns By Your Side
Burns By Your Side is an innovative scheme supported by Burns Pet Nutrition Foundation in south-west Wales using specially trained volunteers and their companion dogs to help children in education settings to improve their literacy, confidence and communication skills. These very special animals come to hear the children read and it's fun! The scheme also supports children in nurturing units that have communication difficulties or special needs to help increase feelings of well-being through a therapy visit.
Email: Burns By Your Side.
Pets As Therapy Read2Dogs Scheme
Pets As Therapy established their Read2Dogs scheme in 2010 and their volunteers and doggy companions now visit 400 schools all over the country to help children increase their confidence and enjoyment of reading. You will see all sorts of dogs of every shape and size volunteering with Pets As Therapy and spreading the joy of reading to children everywhere.
Contact: 01865 671440.
Email: Pets As Therapy.
Therapy Dogs Nationwide
Therapy Dogs Nationwide is a volunteer-run charity which uses much loved pets to bring comfort, companionship, happiness and therapy to those in need. Through their Paws and Read programme, Therapy Dogs Nationwide are helping children in over 50 schools and libraries, especially those who can be nervous and uncomfortable when reading aloud, to improve their literacy skills. The Paws and Read dogs are non judgemental, attentive and perfect listeners.
Email: Therapy Dogs Nationwide.
Caring Canines, founded in 2006, is a small charity based in Bournemouth. Their work has three strands: literacy work in schools, therapy work in hospitals and care homes, and education work to teach people how to socialise and interact with dogs in a safe way.
Their 'Be Bookwise' programme, founded in 2007, is very intensive and aimed at children who have been identified by their school as being in need of particular assistance. This term they are working in six schools and 19 children are teamed up with 19 volunteers and their dogs, the 'book buddies'.
Caring Canines founders Sue Dennett and Julie Lankshear have both been awarded a British Empire Medal in the New Year's Honours List 2014 in recognition of their services to dog assisted therapy.
Contact: 01202 579744 (Julie) or 01202 872352 (Sue).
Email: Caring Canines.
Nicole Crossley and Robbie
Nicole is a retired Police Sergeant who now works as a volunteer provider of Bark and Read at a local primary school in the Sunderland area. Both she and her dog Robbie, a 2-year-old Golden Retriever, visit the school, where they work on a one-to-one basis with children aged 5-11 years of varying reading abilities and confidence levels. Since being introduced to the school, confidence levels and reading abilities have dramatically improved. Nicole has been teaching Robbie how to read to prove to children that if he can read then so can they! They are never short of volunteers to help Robbie in his reading challenge!
Robbie has truly had a huge impact within the school and particularly enjoys being taken on the many adventures that the children tell him about in the books they are reading. Nicole is a huge advocate of growth mindset within the school setting, in that nothing is impossible and actively encourages the children to think "believing is achieving".
Nicole and her husband Gil run a very successful dog training business in the local area and when in school, Nicole advises the children on how to behave around dogs and how to take responsibility for them.
Phone: 07411 286485.
Email: Nicole Crossley and Robbie.
Canine Concern (England & Wales)
Canine Concern was founded over 30 years ago by Eve Waring to teach people how care and behave around dogs. Canine Concern’s Read to Dogs programme has been developed to break down barriers where children find it difficult to read or to improve their reading. With the help of their dogs and volunteer owner teams, children are able to relax in the comfort of being with the dogs and this helps them to become more confident readers who are then able to participate more in school. Volunteers and teachers see amazing results and both dog and human volunteers are carefully assessed prior to becoming a Read to Dogs partner.
The programme also works to safely break down barriers in cases where children are frightened of dogs by teaching canine body language and how to spots signs of discomfort from a dog. With the help of their teacher or qualified therapist, the programme has even assisted children overcome severe dog phobia. Participating schools can attest to the success of the programme, not just in terms of monitored improvements in reading but in the enthusiasm of the children asking when the dog and volunteer will next visit.
Phone: 01323 760258.
Email: Canine Concern.
Would you like one of the Bark and Read sponsored dogs to visit your school, community group or other organisation? Do you have a dog that you think might be suitable as a reading volunteer? We'd love to hear from you. Please call Ciara Farrell on 020 7518 1009 or send her an email.