Greyhound Danny’s award for helping children to read featured in new book, "Danny Goes To London" - MX Publishing, London

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Danny is with R.E.A.D. which stands for Reading Education Assistance Dogs and Danny is one of the leading dogs for R.E.A.D in the UK and has helped thousands of children with their reading skills. "Danny Goes To London," an illustrated colour children’s book, is about the day Danny spent in London when he received an award from The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) for his work as a reading dog.

Lots of dogs have special jobs working for the police and army, or helping people with disabilities or working on farms. Danny the Greyhound has a special job too. Danny’s job is to help children learn to love reading.Danny is with R.E.A.D. which stands for Reading Education Assistance Dogs and Danny is one of the leading dogs for R.E.A.D in the UK and has helped thousands of children with their reading skills. Danny Goes To London is an illustrated colour children’s book is about the day Danny spent in London when he received an award from The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) for his work as a reading dog. The awards were held at the House of Lords and Danny received his award from Queen legend Brian May.

Reading out loud can be a bit difficult sometimes. It’s easy to feel embarrassed reading out loud and sometimes children worry that someone will laugh at them if they make a mistake. Sometimes it can be hard to sit still and pay attention to the book. Because of this, some children don’t like reading out loud at all and find it very difficult. This is where a dog like Danny can help. This is particularly the case for children with learning difficulties.

Danny was trained with the Reading Education Assistance Dogs (R.E.A.D.) programme – their main website is http://www.therapyanimals.org which is supported by The Kennel Club as part of the Bark and Read Foundation. It aims to help children's reading and communication skills by giving them a non-judgemental audience. Its mission is to halt the decline in child literacy through training dogs and sending them into schools and libraries to hear children read.

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary said: “Dogs don’t judge, they don’t laugh or correct if a child makes a mistake. In short, dogs are simply great listeners which makes all the difference for children who are struggling to read. They caught onto this idea in the States a long time ago and there is plenty of proof that it works.”

Here are some comments from schools who have used the programme already.

“There was one boy in our class who had extremely low self-esteem and was declared to be essentially mute. On his first visit to Henry, he read his entire book, without error and in an audible voice. He would take sly looks at Henry but did not interact with him. In the weeks that followed, progress has been exceptional. His reading has dramatically improved and so has his confidence in reading aloud. He will now actively contribute ideas and is thrilled when he is praised and valued. Despite various past interventions and strategies, nothing has come close to reaching him in the way that Henry has.” (St Matthews Primary School in Middlesex)

"I have seen what a difference reading to dogs makes. It builds the children’s confidence to a degree that we never imagined possible and they actually look forward to reading time. Another factor that we never planned for, that turned out to be really important, is that the child feels like they’re being the teacher, the one responsible for helping the dog to understand the story.” (Brightlingsea Junior School)

The book is available from all good bookstores including Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Danny-Goes-To-London-R-E-A-D/dp/1780920792 and Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/danny-goes-to-london-judybee/1110284986?ean=9781780920795.

With his owner Tony Nevett, 53, of Fulmar Lane, Wellingborough, the greyhound tours schools across the country to listen to young children read with the aim of helping to build the child’s confidence in reading aloud. Danny is visiting his USA R.E.A.D. friends, including Corridor Therapy Dogs (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Corridor-Therapy-Dogs/119764178092177) this summer, While there they will open a new book store in Cedar Rapids. Mr Nevett said: “I am really pleased with how it’s going. Danny loves all of the attention. He’s even got his own passport now, and we’ve had a paw stamp made so he can autograph copies of the book. “The book will be the first in a series of books about Danny. They are designed for younger children.”

You can follow Danny's news here - https://www.facebook.com/READUK.

The book was written by Children’s author JudyBee and illustrated by Anna Kecskés. The publishers are MX Publishing http://www.mxpublishing.com best known for their Queens of Africa children’s series and their Sherlock Holmes books.

Main award photo (left to right):
Robbie Marsland (head of IFAW), Tony Nevett, Danny, Brian May (rockstar from Queen) and Baroness Gale.

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Steve Emecz (Publisher)
MX Publishing
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