Two lovable Labradors are lending their ears to young readers.

We have launched Read2Dogs sessions at Selby library to help children improve their confidence as readers by sharing books with Dora and Morgan, two Pets as Therapy dogs that visit the library with their owners, Rachael and Tony Wilson, of Selby.

Outreach librarian Alison Tutill explained: “Read2Dogs has been shown to help children develop literacy skills and confidence, through the calming effect of the dog’s presence on children and because the dog will listen to the children read without being judgemental. This comforting environment helps to nurture children’s enthusiasm for reading and provides them with the confidence needed to read aloud.”

Sessions take place on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month. People can book 15-minute slots, which are open to children of any age and adults with learning difficulties.

Dora and Morgan, who are both about seven years old, are rescue dogs from Serbia. Rachael and Tony got Dora about two years ago. Morgan arrived a year later. He had been abused, beaten around the head, and still bears the scars if you look closely. But he’s just as friendly, calm and loveable as Dora.

Rachael said: “Therapy dogs was something I’d always been interested in doing. It so happened that our local dog group, Paws for Pals, was organising a group of therapy dogs to visit care homes, hospitals, nurseries and schools. I put my name down straightaway.

“Both Dora and Morgan passed their Pets as Therapy assessments with flying colours. The assessor was super impressed and couldn’t believe how good they were for rescue dogs.

“I am a nanny and have worked with children for 20 years, so the Read2Dogs scheme was always something I was very interested in. The children really benefit, because the dog calms them down, especially if they are a nervous reader or have trouble expressing themselves. Sometimes, talking to a dog will reduce their heart rate, reduce the anxiety and enable them to read without fear of judgement. They read naturally and can relax completely while reading and, hopefully, that gives them an enjoyment of reading.”