I am so proud of his achievements as he’s preparing for high school. I myself will always be grateful to Harmeny for the care, experience, dedication, the friendship from everybody and the many hours of chats, phone calls and respect shown to myself even, as a father.Parent
To watch Kezzie* reading to Georgie is an education. Georgie knows how to build trust. He’s relaxed, he doesn’t judge. He’s patient and he listens. Georgie is a Cavalier King Charles spaniel.
He comes to Harmeny School with his owner once a week so children can read to him. He loves it, and the children treasure time with him.
Our volunteers call their sessions “Read with a Lead”. The initiative supports the basic communication skills of reading, speaking and listening. These are vital to Harmeny’s children as they learn to build strong relationships with friends, family, teachers and – in the case of our volunteers – adults they barely know.
Different children respond to different techniques. For those who may struggle to connect words together, a volunteer might ask whether a child can point out a particular word “for Georgie”. For all the children, it’s the consistency of regular sessions over a long period makes all the difference.
Speaking and listening have been identified by school inspectors as key skills that Harmeny’s children need to develop. “Read with a Lead” is one informal but vital contributor to that goal.
Where the initiative also scores is in the opportunity it offers for children to grow in confidence – learning over a period of time how to relate to adults who are new to them and not authority figures; and how to build trust with people and animals alike.