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‘Paws for reading’ wins Prestbury library a first prize of £5,000


Prestbury Library won the David Vaisey trust first prize given for initiatives developed by public libraries in Gloucestershire to get more people reading more books.


‘Paws for reading’ involves children from The Ridge Academy – a school for children with additional needs, reading to rescue dogs from Cheltenham Animal Shelter.

Jo O’Dea Team leader from Prestbury library said “Part of our job is to inspire children to catch the reading bug and ‘Paws for reading’ seemed an ideal way to encourage reluctant readers to improve their reading skills. Evidence shows that children feel less anxious when reading to dogs. After all a dog won’t try to correct you – they just sit and listen!”

“We spoke to all the children, found out more about their interests and matched them with suitable books. There are a few fun activities to do at each session, including literacy based games, reading activities and of course everyone has the chance to read to the rescue dog Mitzy!” “It has been so rewarding to see the children flourishing and really looking forward to their next library visit. The project has been hugely enjoyable and winning the prize was the icing on the cake!”

“The prize money will be used to improve the service offered at Prestbury Library. Additional resources, including books and literacy games, have been bought to enhance the Paws for Reading sessions. We hope to buy some furniture to encourage customers to stay longer in the library and organise an event to further promote the library.”

Cllr Dave Norman said “this is a fantastic idea from Prestbury library and proves how proactive our libraries can be in providing inspirational settings and the right motivation to encourage children to engage in reading.”

“I hope that these sessions continue to inspire children from The Ridge Academy and contribute to their love of reading.”

Jonathan Taylor, Chairman of the David Vaisey Trust, said: "It's an exciting, important and impressive project, bringing together patient dogs and children with additional needs to enjoy books and reading. Prestbury Library's project was a very worthy winner of the David Vaisey Prize. We are now looking forward to receiving more entries for the 2019 prize from other inspiring and successful initiatives from across Gloucestershire's libraries."

The Paws for Reading sessions are held every month and alternate between Prestbury Library and the Cheltenham Animal Shelter. For more information please contact Prestbury library on 01242 234540 or

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