Playful pups and a good book, what’s not to love?

Reading is fundamentally important to every child’s development, but when starting out it can be a bit tricky to get the ball rolling.

Either due to shyness or learning difficulties, reading out loud is not always easy for some children, but now there’s a fantastic new initiative in the UAE that wants to help, with some decidedly furry friends in tow.

Reading Dogs pairs together school-age children with a team of cuddly, calm and non-judgy canines for 20 minute sessions where kids get to read aloud in a relaxed environment.

According to the Reading Dogs website, studies show that reading fluency in children increases between 12 to 30-per cent after they participate in reading dog programmes. It’s also a great way for children to practice their reading and oral skills, without any pesky adults correcting them.

Since the initiative kicked off in September 2017, its team of 14 adorable pooches have gone on to read with over 2,000 children across 19 different schools and nurseries in the UAE.

The dogs themselves all go through a rigorous screening process to ensure they are given a clean bill of health and can behave themselves around children. Just like Lost the German Shepherd here:

The human side of Reading Dogs is made up of a group of dog handlers, trainers and volunteers who are all keen animal lovers themselves. There is an on-staff trainer who assesses each dog before they are accepted into the programme.

If you’re interested in learning more about Reading Dogs, volunteering or even signing up your own pup to the programme you can find out more by visiting their website.

In the meantime, we’ll leave you with this photo of Willow the Golden Retriever thoroughly enjoying story time, d’aww.

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Images: Reading Dogs