Blue our resident reading dog.

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Let us introduce you to ‘Blue’.

Blue is an eight year old Labradoodle who has been in training to become our very own reading/therapy dog here in Saundersfoot CP School.

He passed his Bronze assessment during the Spring term and then passed his Silver assessment during the Summer term and he is all set to join his owner – Mr Allen. They will be working for a morning a week listening to readers and helping children feel less stressed and anxious.

Look out for them wearing their Burns by your side uniform around school. 

What is a ‘reading dog’?

Burns by Your Side is a scheme aimed at children who could benefit from improved reading and communication skills.

The idea which is tried and trusted in the US helps children in a variety of education settings gain confidence in building their vocabulary and fluency by reading to a dog.

Using specially trained volunteers and their companion dogs, these very special animals come to a school  to hear the children read.

Reading with a companion dog can:

  • motivate a child to read independently and
  • build self-confidence and self-esteem
  • improve reading fluency
  • a child feel less stressed and anxious



Reading to a Dog – Why?

Learning to read or communicating generally can be fearful for many children. Research has shown that reading to a dog as a companion can reduce stress levels, increase relaxation and provide a comfortable situation where there is no peer pressure. This creates an environment where a child is empowered and motivated. Blue is a compassionate listener and doesn’t judge.

What happens at a therapy session?

Preferably on a one-to-one basis, a child will read or communicate with Blue. Blue is supervised  at all times by the skilled handler, who will remove any pressure from the child and provide gentle support, in our case this is Mr Allen. The environment creates a calm non-judgmental atmosphere where additional reading or communication practice builds vocabulary and fluency.