CLEVER CANINE: Evie the golden retriever is Gladstone's first story dog. She's on a mission to make reading fun for children.
CLEVER CANINE: Evie the golden retriever is Gladstone's first story dog. She's on a mission to make reading fun for children. Noor Gillani

Meet the local dog helping children learn how to read

NATIONAL literacy program Story Dogs has made its way to Gladstone through 4-year-old golden retriever Evie.

Evie's owner and Story Dogs Gladstone area coordinator Cara Hodgson said the program facilitated a love of reading through one-on-one sessions where students read Evie stories.

Weekly Story Dogs sessions were recently started at St. Johns School and Evie will have her first public story time event during Youth Week.

"We target children around the ages of 7, 8 and 9 and sometimes a little bit older," Ms Hodgson said.

"In Prep and Grade 1 the children often have reading programs for them ... with children that are 7, 8 and 9, quite often reading isn't the main focus anymore."

Ms Hodgson said sessions with Evie made reading easy because "dogs don't judge".

"The children can read to the dog and if they're getting the words wrong the idea is Evie doesn't mind as long as she's hearing a story," she said.

"She's super friendly, Evie has an extremely soft nature and the kids absolutely adore her ... she's calm in a crowd as well which is super important."

Evie's obedience training began when she was a puppy.

"She's not allowed to pull towards people to get pats so she has to basically remain beside me and when people approach I can let them know if they can pat her ... we also had to get her to refuse food."

The Story Dogs at the Gladstone Library event is free and will run from 11am on April 10 at Gladstone Regional Library.



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