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Woody booked for Telford primary school reading event

By Rory Smith | Telford | School events | Published:

He's become a celebrity in playgrounds across Shropshire – and Woody the reading dog has now made his last visit of the year to a Telford primary school.

The English setter is touring schools across the county, and his most recent visit saw him enjoy a Christmas lunch at Crudgington Primary School.

Pupils read stories to him, enjoyed literacy activities and engaged with the friendly giant while he sat listening attentively, sporting a Christmas bow tie for the occasion.

Woody's calming nature encourages younger pupils to gather round and enjoy a story, as well as helping students with independent reading.

Julia Horton, assistant head teacher at the school said her class was buzzing with talks ahead of the dog's visit.

"We've established a great relationship with Woody now, who visits for half a day every half term," she said.

"He's always the talk of the school prior to him coming and the pupils are so excited to see him.

"We've even named our student librarians Woody's Buddies so he's having a real positive impact."

Woody with pupils Martha Young, 6, Daisy Turner, 6, Bayley Ryder, 7, and Zak Carroll, 7

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The English setter enjoyed a Christmas lunch with students, as well as listening to Christmas stories and taking part in festive activities.

The four-legged friend started touring schools in 2016 after his owner, Anne Derry, helped launch a reading project in Walsall.

The project was to inspire and help shy readers who might not feel confident in their ability.

Mrs Derry and Woody are used to getting lots of attention having been featured on television following success at Crufts in 2016. They were interviewed by Clare Balding, and Woody featured in a programme that filmed him in his role as a reading ambassador in local schools.

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Mrs Derry previously said: “Woody has a calming and positive effect on nervous and shy readers, and educational research suggests that a child will not feel judged or under pressure to perform in the company of a calm dog.

“The child reads while Woody just sits gently and listens attentively.

“I know as his owner I’m a bit biased, but I am very proud of him and the impact he is having.”

Rory Smith

By Rory Smith
Reporter - @rorysmith_star

Trainee news reporter based at the Shropshire Star's Ketley office in Telford.

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