Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 15°C

min temp: 9°C


Capel St Mary: Beloved family pets help children learn to read

10:00 09 April 2014

Sophie reads to Harry

Sophie reads to Harry


What started out as a “mad” idea is beginning to catch on in Suffolk as a second primary school is now having pupils read to a dog.

The headteacher at Capel St Mary Primary School was inspired by Jo Kidby’s example at Nacton Primary School and now brings two pet pooches into the school to listen to the children reading.

Ms Kidby’s pet dog Heathcliff was the first to be brought into school with the aim of improving the reading of pupils - the idea is that children’s confidence and fluency grows as dogs listen to them read without interruption or criticism.

Harry and Teasel have been a fixture at Capel St Mary Primary School since the autumn term last year.

Harry is a six-year-old Collie who comes in on Tuesday afternoons and listens to a small group of Year 5 and Year 6 children, two of whom have made over a year’s progress at reading in just eight weeks.

On Thursday afternoon Teasel, a three-year-old cockapoo comes in with the vicar, Canon Jim Pendorf. Teasel is beloved by the children and listens to a range of them reading.

Wendy Kelway, headteacher at Capel St Mary, said: “Reading is a key to success in all areas of learning and the earlier children become confident and independent readers the better for all their education.

“This is key to the approach at our school, where reading is encouraged and celebrated. One of the Ofsted criteria for a good school is, ‘Pupils read widely and often,’ and we are aiming for this.

“Following Jo Kidby’s mad idea at Nacton School we have introduced two dogs to Capel.”


A woman was treated for minor injuries at the scene of a crash near the Copdock roundabout this afternoon.

There are long delays on the A14 eastbound at after Claydon this evening following an accident.

Rail travellers hoping to enjoy weekend days out in London in early 2017 are facing four months more disruption on the main line as Shenfield station is rebuilt.

Everyday our readers send in photos to iwitness24 that they have taken while out and about along the Suffolk coast, visiting one of our many beauty spots or while relaxing in their own gardens.

Corrie McKeague’s disappearance has left his family suffering an “indescribable” void in the 32 days since the RAF Honington airman vanished from the centre of Bury St Edmunds.

This week DAVID KINDRED takes a look at the early days of local radio in Ipswich and Suffolk.

A 65-year-old man has been charged with dangerous driving and failing to notify the authorities of a disability after a cyclist sustained life-threatening injuries in Ipswich.

A young man has been injured after the car he was driving hit a post and overturned in Ipswich.

Two Suffolk communities have been praised for revitalising their high street “as a unique place for living, working and shopping”.

An Ipswich Hospital receptionist is paying the price for her curiosity today after illegally accessing patients’ medical records landed her in court.

Most read

Most commented


Show Job Lists

Topic pages


Newsletter Sign Up

MyDate24 MyPhotos24