Adorable Dog Helps School Children Learn To Read And Has His Own Uniform
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Featured Image Credit: SWNS
This adorable dog helps children to read by giving children the confidence to read out loud because 'he doesn't judge he just listens'.
Rescue dog, Russell even has his own school uniform and backpack for when he visits Coalsnaughton Primary School in Scotland on a Friday afternoon.
The 13-year-old is the family pet of school worker, Kelsie McAlpine, 25, who came up with the idea of bringing him in to meet the children.
Kelsie had researched the benefits of children having contact with animals, and says she has seen their confidence soar since Russell's first visit in February.
Russell wears an adorably tiny uniform so that he matches the 64 students at the school, as well as a backpack containing a pouch of dog food and plenty of treats.
Kelsie, who works on the early interventions team, says that she has noticed that quieter children have grown more confident when reading out loud to Russell.
She said: "A lot of parents ask about when he is coming in.
"Some of the kids aren't that confident and I have seen in reading groups where there are four children and they have all been really quiet, that you can hear them getting louder as they read.
"Dogs do not judge, they just listen. You can see it from the children's faces."
Russell is a collie-Alsatian cross, and takes part in the 'daily mile' walk which the children go on each day.
His proud owner said: "Somebody in the class gets nominated by the teacher for the responsibility of having his lead.
"The children are so empathetic and so loving.
"They ask me 'how many sleeps until Russell comes?'
"The morale is up a wee bit, the whole atmosphere just lifts when Russell is in the room."
When he visits the classrooms, Russell is greeted with applause by the pupils, but often lies down to sleep on the floor.
Russell's visits provide a chance for children who do not have pets at home to take responsibility for caring for a dog.
Headteacher, Colleen Clark Burns, is convinced that Russell's visits teach pupils 'compassion and responsibility,' as well as boosting their confidence.
She said: "We have a couple of really shy kids, and try to use Russell to build their social skills, so they can get an audience with him.
"The staff members all love him."
The idea has already caught the attention of other schools in the area.
Kelsie added: "I'm really passionate about doing it, I love animals and I love my job."
She joked: "The children complain about him having smelly dog breath - they will be cuddling him and kissing him, then saying 'oh no, he's stinky.'"