The Story Dogs not-for-profit organisation was formed in 2009 in Murwillumbah, NSW by Leah Sheldon and Janine Sigley, both parents of primary and high school children. Story Dogs is based on the successful American literacy program: Reading Education Assistance Dogs (R.E.A.D.) which was launched in 1999 in Utah USA, as the first comprehensive literacy program built around the appealing idea of children and young adolescents reading to dogs.
Underpinning the objectives of our program is the knowledge that “students with reading difficulties find themselves in a cycle of almost unrelenting failure that ensures an ever – widening gap between them and fluent readers” (Konza, 2006. p. 152).
During 2009, we ran a trial at Murwillumbah East Public School (MEPS), with three dog teams. This trial was very successful with positive feedback from students, teachers, the principal and parents. From that trial the program has continued to expand across Australia.
The driving forces behind the founders who created the Story Dogs program are:
Leah – My experience from working in a correctional centre reinforced my belief that to succeed in our culture, a person must have literacy skills.
Janine – Seeing the joy reading brings to our children, and being part of the wonderful limitless world of ideas found in books. Also to share the love our dog gives to everyone he meets.
with ‘Coco’ and ‘Buddy’
Gavin Sigley (Chair) Agnes Nesci Janine Sigley
Brian Meldrum Serena Poncia
Janine Sigley (Managing Director) Agnes Nesci (Sponsorship Manager)
Bev Jurd (Registrar) Brian Meldrum (Finance Manager)
Serena Poncia (Web Site Editor/ Leah Sheldon (Warehouse Manager)
Book Library Manager)