Story Dogs recruit Lollipop helps primary school kids improve their reading skills.

Lollipop sits looking at Logan as he reads a book about baboons to her.

Lollipop is a story dog, tasked with helping kids improve their reading skills in a fun and non-threatening environment.

Jacqui Brown is Lollipop’s owner and the Hobart coordinator for Story Dogs.

“Many children have emotional upsets in their day,” Ms Brown told Bridget Hickey on 936 ABC Hobart.

“The dog is something that calms them.”

936 ABC Hobart: Carol Rääbus.

Story Dogs started in 2009 and has teams working with primary schools all over Australia.

The program focuses on children from grade two and up who need a boost with their confidence and reading skills.

"Last year we had a boy who was in grade six, he didn't know all his letters," Ms Brown said.

"He was Lollipop's first client and by the time he left he was able to read a newspaper, he could read a bus timetable, he could use a computer.

"Lollipop made a big difference to him."

Non-judgmental dogs help improve confidence

Whereas a child might be scared or embarrassed to make a mistake reading in front of a human, the dog gives them no judgment and just seems pleased to be with their efforts.

Ms Brown and Lollipop work at Austins Ferry Primary School.

They have scheduled mornings when they spend time with children one on one.

936 ABC Hobart: Carol Rääbus.

"It's not a difficult thing to do," Ms Brown said.

"You get a very warm welcome from the schools."

Each dog is assessed by the organisation for its temperament, while the dog's owner gets support and training with literacy skills.

At the moment Lollipop is the only story dog in southern Tasmania.

Ms Brown said they were keen to recruit more calm pooches to the cause.

"Boxers are well known for loving people, especially children ... but any dog that's calm would be wonderful."

More information on how to become a Story Dogs volunteer is available on its website.

This post originally appeared on ABC News


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