A scheme at a Primary school in Kent is working wonders. Pupils who are unwilling to read aloud are introduced to dogs who are happy to listen to the children reading to them.
Educationalists say that the dogs do not judge whether the child is reading well or not and do not criticise their pronunciation.
Danny, a greyhound who gave up running for fake rabbits some time ago, is a great listener. From time to time Danny goes off to sleep when he is dog tired but most of the time he seems to like the sound of children reading aloud to him.
There are favourite stories which tend to get a tail wagging and 'White Fang' is one of his favourites. Having just been introduced to stories about film star Lassie, Danny is very happy and wants more tales of dog exploits.
When he was read 'Animal Farm' he was upset by the behaviour of the dogs and had to have the reading stopped by growling so he couldn't hear the story.
The project has been an overall success and education departments are on the look out for listening dogs. Battersea Dogs Home is eager to help.
Suggestions that other animals might be helpful have been made. Cats have been tried but always fall asleep. Mice just keeping running around in circles and cows are too big to sit listen in a classroom and have no manners.