CHILDREN have been reading their favourite stories to canine friends this week, in a scheme to boost reading confidence as part of National Storytelling Week.

Children at Wavell Community Junior School, Catterick Garrison, spent the day reading stories to Stella, an Airedale terrier, who visited the children for the Bark and Read event, organised by the Kennel Club.

National Storytelling Week, running from Saturday, January 26 until Saturday, February 2, aims to promote reading in schools, libraries and museums across the UK.

Bark and Read is a scheme funded by the Kennel Club Charitable Trust, and supports organisations that take dogs into schools and libraries for children to read to.

The scheme has been running for more than a year and teachers have reported an increase in confidence, reading levels and interest in reading.

Cathy Greenaway, head teacher at Wavell School said: “It is wonderful to see the children's faces as they read to Stella.

“Stella listens and really enjoys being with the children and it gives the children more confidence when reading aloud. It’s a wonderful scheme to be involved in.”

Kennel Club librarian Ciara Farrell said: “Bark and Read has had some fantastic results from children reading to dogs - one school has seen a pupil’s reading age increase by two years in just six months.

"Reading to dogs is proven to improve confidence through both the calming effect of the dog and the fact that the dog will listen to a child read without being critical."

For more information on Bark and Read, visit