Book Buddies: Cats Helping Children Read

About a year ago I wrote a piece for Cat Channel (Cat Fancy’s website), about an innovative program at Animal Rescue League of Berks County in Mohnton, PA called “Book Buddies” where children read to shelter cats.

cat reading a book

This young man seems to have done such a great job the cat seems to be reading to him!

 

Besides the obvious benefit to the children, most of whom are timid reading in front of adults or other kids, it’s had a positive and far-reaching impact within the shelter and the community!

I noticed the topic popping up on Facebook again recently and figured I’d share the piece I wrote back then titled: “Kids Read to Cats through Book Buddies. I do hope you’ll take a moment to read it.

Of course I also love that so many of the photos on their website which we included in the piece show young boys with kitties (Cat Men in training?! Yay!).

Cat Man in training?!

Cat Man in training?! They do seem quite enamored with one another!

I’m so excited to say the program is going strong. And according to the shelter’s website, a study performed by Tufts University demonstrated:

  • “Pets can be considered a source of support”and can be a “non-evaluative presence that can provide support and comfort to participants without judging them”
  • “Human-animal interaction can make the learning process more comfortable and enjoyable for children”
  • “Autistic children who were put in contact with an animal demonstrated increased use of language and had improved social interactions while with the animal”
  • Children showed “sustained focus and maintained a higher state of awareness, as well as improved attitudes toward school”

Do you or your children ever read aloud to your cat? Have you heard of other programs like this involving cats in other parts of the country? 

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  • jmuhj

    I have seen this program written about in Best Friends Magazine, the media of Best Friends Animal Society headquartered in Kanab, Utah. It’s a wonderful program! My folks home schooled me before I was eligible to be enrolled in school, and our beloved cat was right by my side, I’m sure, during much of the learning process!

  • queencatlady

    This is a pawesome program! We have one locally where I live but they only use dogs. I am going to email the shelter and ask why they don’t use cats too and forward your post!

  • Hi there! In light of your story, I thought you might be interested in my children’s book. It’s called “A Basket Full of Kittens,” and it’s entire purpose is teaching children about adoption and encouraging them to love cats. 🙂 If it’s funded (there are only 6 days left), we’ll write a sequel that teaches children how to interact with cats. Might you be interested in writing a post about the book on your blog? You can learn more about it at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/let-s-publish-a-basket-full-of-kittens/x/10465107 (10% of the proceeds will benefit a cat shelter too!) I’d love to answer any questions you might have. We also have a FB page: http://www.facebook.com/ABasketFullofKittens

  • I read about this program last year and I’m so glad it’s going strong. I don’t have kids, but I think that reading to pets is a great way to encourage reading habits. A truly inspiring program.