One of ALCDSB's best
teachers is about to retire this year, but it's not a human teacher.
Meet Bogie, a
labradoodle that has been reading with students for the past nine years.
Bogie is a St. John
Ambulance child therapy dog and loves reading with children.
Bogie and his owner,
Roberte Keirstead started their "teaching career" nine years ago at
Ecole Catholique Cathedral.
Since then, they
have moved to St. John XXIII and shortly after, Bogie's brother Marshall joined
Marshal, Bogie and
Roberte have been volunteering weekly (every Monday and Friday) to read with
Grades 1 and 2 students.
began when Principal David Dodge introduced the idea to his school community
and that's when the partnership flourished. Bogie and Marhsall began reading
with students who had difficulty reading aloud; a safe, non-judgemental space
was provided while students had the opportunity to read aloud to the dogs. Not
only was reading aloud to the dogs therapeutic, but also lowers anxiety and
relaxes the children.
This partnership has
grown over the years and now all students have the opportunity to read with
Marshall and Bogie, regardless of their reading level.
Each week students
are called down to the reading room, with a matt on the floor. They pick their
favourite book and sit with either Marshall or Bogie and Roberte and read.
Marshall and Bogie are both quick to join on the matt and listen to the story.
Ask any student at
St. John XXIII and the highlight of their week is having Bogie and Marshall
come to be read to.
Students say their reading has improved because they
practice with the dogs.
In 2017, the St.
John XXIII community dedicated their buddy bench to Roberete, Marshall and
Bogie for their dedication to the school.
It is evident that
Roberte and her dogs truly are part of the St. John XXIII school community,
participating in spirit weeks, halloween and other colour specific days.
After a nine year
partnership, Roberte, Marshall and Bogie will be retiring but Roberte says she has other ideas to work with dogs and children.
Thank you to
Roberte, Marshall and Bogie for your dedication to the St. John XXIII Catholic