Shy children will read to retired racing greyhounds instead of teachers as part of a new literacy project at UK schools.
Young pupils who are reluctant to read in front of their classmates will be encouraged to practice in front of dogs selected by the Retired Greyhound Trust.
The idea - which will also help children with learning difficulties - has been welcomed by the The National Literacy Trust, the National Autistic Society and educational psychologists.
READ - Reading Education Assistance Dogs - is a big success in America where there are now 1,400 dogs visiting schools.
One of the first dogs to take part in the UK will be retired greyhound Batman and owner Kelly Bakewell, who make their debut at Oakway Infant School in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, on Friday.
Scotts listens intently
Another, Scotts, is booked to visit a string of schools in the coming months with owner Tony Nevett.
The project is aimed at children aged between four and seven at both mainstream and special needs schools.
Nevett, who has worked with the Retired Greyhound Trust, for several years, said: "Many children find it a struggle to read and it really knocks their confidence if they stumble over words in front of their mates.
"The idea of reading to dogs is that they donít answer back and they donít give you a hard time if you donít get it right first time." ...
Not a new story but I hadn't come across this before.