Dog becomes star pupil at primary school after learning to read

The Mirror is reporting that a dog who has become an inspiration to primary school children – by learning (apparently) how to read.

Fernie, a two year-old chocolate Labrador, was introduced to classes at Winford Primary School near Bristol as part of a national scheme to give children motivation and confidence…

Owner and headmaster Nik Gardner, 38, says Fernie can read the words ‘sit’, ‘down’, ‘roll over’ and ‘spin’.

…when Mr Gardner silently holds up one of the four written commands, Fernie correctly responds to the written word

Even animal behaviorists are unsure as to how Fernie has learned to ‘read’.

Rosie Barclay, from the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors, said: “It’s hard to say exactly how Fernie is doing it.

…”Studies at Lincoln University have shown that dogs do not tend to distinguish objects by shape even though they can differentiate amounts of things such as food.

“If Fernie is taking cues from his owner, he may not be able to ‘read’ if someone else showed him the cards and the owner was out of the room.”

“But at the end of the day it doesn’t matter if he’s not really reading – the children are gaining a great deal of motivation by having him around…”

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Have you taken part in any of these schemes to have dogs (or other animals) in class in order to help with confidence and motivation?

What kind of impact do you think they have?

And can anyone top a dog that can do the reading?

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