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Newbury Park children read to furry friend Deva the dog for National Storytelling Week

Deva, the dog, is read to by Gytis Sadbaras, age 6 and Malachi Tyrell-Komorowsky, age 8. Deva, the dog, is read to by Gytis Sadbaras, age 6 and Malachi Tyrell-Komorowsky, age 8.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013
1:58 PM

As part of National Storytelling Week, schoolchildren in Newbury Park have been reading to a very unusual audience.

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Deva the German Shepherd leant an understanding ear to young children at Newbury Park Primary School, in Perryman’s Farm Road, on Tuesday.

She often goes into the school to help pupils between six and nine gain confidence reading their favourite stories as part of the “Bark and Read” project.

Special educational needs co-ordinator Ann Desmond said reading to the dog is “soothing and fun” for young children who find reading challenging.

She added: “Deva just sits there and the children read to her and talk to her.

“Some of them just want to pet her and love her, she’s a very placid dog.

“But it makes such a difference, it’s surprising.

“Children who never spoke have started talking and some who were never into reading really care about what book they pick.

“We hope they will become life-long readers.”

The charity arm of canine organisation the Kennel Club runs the “Bark and Read” project around the country.

National Storytelling Week will end on Saturday and aims to promote storytelling in schools, libraries and museums.

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