Novel idea pairs Mabel the ‘listening dog’ with schoolchildren at Benhall Primary

Benhall Primary School pupil Oscar reads to Mabel the Lhaso apso

Benhall Primary School pupil Oscar reads to Mabel the Lhaso apso

Literacy at a Suffolk school is going to the dogs – in the best possible sense of the word.

The reading skills of children at Benhall Primary School, near Saxmundham, have been improving thanks to help from regular visitor Mabel the Lhasa apso.

The idea is to build children’s confidence and ability reading aloud to an audience free of judgement or criticism.

Mabel’s owner, and deputy headteacher, Katie Jenkins said staff are already seeing good results.

“It’s really interesting to watch the children reading to Mabel,” she added.


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“She can’t intervene or tell them they’re doing something wrong, so their confidence starts to build straight away.”

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