ESTONIA - A library in high-tech Estonia is getting children to read out loud to man's best friend to boost their confidence.
Tentel, the long-haired Afghan Hound, a peppy Golden Retriever named Elli and a fluffy Newfoundland named Leero lend their ears at the library in the eastern city of Tartu twice a month.
"For kids who have problems with reading or low self esteem, there is no better therapy than to practise reading aloud to a dog," says Ewa Roots, a manager who is part of the innovative educational project.
"Dogs are calm listeners and unlike other kids or adults, will never be critical when a child makes mistakes while reading," she adds.
"Sessions with dogs boost self confidence and children start to feel secure to express themselves," she adds.
The innovative educational project launched in February is free of charge and available to all children who want to participate.
Most are five- to six-years-old, and some are up to 10, and there is even one 16-year-old.
Literacy in this tiny ex-Soviet European Union country of just 1.3 million people is already 100 per cent for citizens who are 15 years of age and older, according to the latest World Bank figures.
Dubbed e-Estonia, the Baltic state gave the world the Skype communicator which is renowned as an IT trailblazer and ranks as one of the world's most connected countries.