Tentel, the long-haired Afghan Hound, a peppy Golden Retriever named Elli and a fluffy Newfoundland named Leero lend their ears at the library in the eastern city of Tartu twice a month.

 “For kids who have problems with reading or low self esteem there is no better therapy than to practice reading aloud to a dog,” said project manager Ewa Roots.

“Dogs are calm listeners and unlike other kids or adults, will never be critical when a child makes mistakes while reading,” Roots said. “Sessions with dogs boost self confidence and children start to feel more free and secure to express themselves,” she added.

The innovative educational project launched in February is free of charge and available to all children. Most are five to six years old, some are up to 10 and there is even one 16-year-old. The library in Tartu encourages youngsters to have eight to 10 half-hour sessions of reading to their new four-legged friends.

“Children first decide which dog they like the most,” Roots explained.

“When the shyest children see someone starting to read to their dog, they will soon do the same,” she noted.

Leero was happy to listen to Harti, a six-year-old boy, read.

Courtesy: Mid-day

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