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.
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!).
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?