The SPCA has today launched a series of original storybooks into schools with the aim of helping Kiwi kids to both improve their reading skills and learn to care for and respect animals.
The six books in the series cater to different ages and reading levels. Each story is based on a real-life animal rescue from the SPCA, and contains messages about animal care, animal welfare, and tips for families on how to be responsible pet owners.
“Research tells us that the best way to achieve behavioural change is by reaching out to children between 7 and 12 years old. By educating the next generation of animal owners, we can help ensure a better future for all animals,” says SPCA New Zealand CEO Andrea Midgen.
The SPCA Learn-to-Read Storybooks are skilfully written to enable teachers to integrate them straight into their classroom literacy programmes. The intention of each story is to teach core animal welfare messages, while also supporting the development of children’s reading skills and strategies.
All 2,127 primary and intermediate schools in New Zealand have received six sets of each book completely free, thanks to help from Sunshine Books and SPCA supporters.
“Our SPCA Storybooks feature fun and engaging characters that kids will identify with and want to read about, all while earning important lessons about compassion and empathy towards people and animals,” says Ms Midgen.
“For example, one of the stories features two children who help an abandoned cat that lives under their school’s sports shed. The story ends with an SPCA Inspector rescuing the cat from a drainpipe and giving a bravery award to the children.”
The SPCA’s aim is for every child to grow up to respect animals and be a responsible pet owner. By doing so, the SPCA hopes to break the cycle of animal cruelty in New Zealand communities and reduce the number of abused and neglected animals that need the SPCA’s help each year.
“Already the response from schools has been overwhelmingly positive. We’ve had teachers and principals write to us and thank us for providing free resources that promote their key classroom values: being kind and compassionate, and caring for each other,” says Ms Midgen.
The SPCA Storybooks are the latest addition to the SPCA Education programme launched in July 2016. SPCA Education is an evidence-based programme for New Zealand schools that aligns with the Curriculum and teaches animal welfare in a real-life, meaningful context.
The SPCA Learn-to-Read Storybooks are:
The Smooth Movers’ Club
A boy and his father want their move to the city to go smoothly for their cat Noah. It does, until Muscles, the fearsome neighbourhood tomcat, turns up.
Sam and Charlie Love Pudding
When the abandoned cat who lives under the sports shed at their school gets into trouble, Sam and Charlie have to act.
The Problem with Sione’s Spaghetti
Sione’s pet rabbit has a problem. Sione’s solution involves a pack of raging rhinos, but will it work?
Storm Gets A New family
Storm used to spend his days chained to kennel till his life was changed by a bolt of lightning and a girl with friendly eyes.
Pumpkin Pie and Pavlova
Mrs Melling likes pumpkin pie and pavlova much more than she likes Mr Watkins or his hens. Will Mr Watkins find a way to change that?
The Mouse at the Mall
A girl and her mother go to the mall to buy shoes. They leave with a shoebox with a toilet roll and a mouse inside. What will happen next?
The SPCA Learn-to-Read Storybooks are available for purchase by schools and our supporters. Visit our online shop here.