Little Kids Read Books to Shelter Cats [Gallery]

The Animal Rescue League of Berks County host a special book club for cats.

  • Cohen Gansner, 1st grade, is a Book Buddy! He comes in to read to our cats, giving them some cuddle time and him some practice with his reading skills, all the while earning prizes. Photo: ARLCohen Gansner, 1st grade, is a Book Buddy! He comes in to read to our cats, giving them some cuddle time and him some practice with his reading skills, all the while earning prizes. Photo: ARL
  • Cassandra Kraus, 1st grader at Conrad Weiser West, came in to participate in the Book Buddies Program. Photo: ARLCassandra Kraus, 1st grader at Conrad Weiser West, came in to participate in the Book Buddies Program. Photo: ARL
  • Aidan Bonner was the October Book Buddy winner. Photo: ARLAidan Bonner was the October Book Buddy winner. Photo: ARL
  • Isabel is trying to read a story, but her feline friend feels like playing instead. Photo: ARLIsabel is trying to read a story, but her feline friend feels like playing instead. Photo: ARL
  • Timothy Mashburn stopped in today to be a Book Buddy! Timothy is 10 years old, attends Cyber School and is in 5th grade. Thanks for being a great buddy Timothy. Photo: ARLTimothy Mashburn stopped in today to be a Book Buddy! Timothy is 10 years old, attends Cyber School and is in 5th grade. Thanks for being a great buddy Timothy. Photo: ARL
  • Sam Trego, 1st grade & Ben Spiri, 2nd grade stopped by and became Book Buddies! Thanks for reading to our cats, they loved your company. Photo: ARLSam Trego, 1st grade & Ben Spiri, 2nd grade stopped by and became Book Buddies! Thanks for reading to our cats, they loved your company. Photo: ARL
  • 8 year old Mattighan Pagan. She’s a second grader at NW Elementary School and she loves to read to the cats. Photo: ARL8 year old Mattighan Pagan. She’s a second grader at NW Elementary School and she loves to read to the cats. Photo: ARL
  • Book Buddy Cheyenne Boyle stopped in to read to the cats! She is working through some animal fear, and reading to the kitties is a nice relaxing way for her to get comfortable. Photo: ARLBook Buddy Cheyenne Boyle stopped in to read to the cats! She is working through some animal fear, and reading to the kitties is a nice relaxing way for her to get comfortable. Photo: ARL

Kids are cute, and cats are cute. Why not to have both? What can be more adorable that children reading books to their furry friends?

A Pennsylvania rescue center encourages kids to read to the local felines as part of their “Book Buddies” program – and cats seem to be fascinated. Children aged six to 13 who are able to read at any level are invited into the shelter to read to the cats in the adoption room at Berks County Rescue League.

“Book Buddies” sceme started in August 2013, inspired by a fifth grader named Sean, the 10-year-old son of the shelter’s program coordinator Kristi Rodriguez, who was having trouble reading. As Berks ARL Marketing & Communications Director Beth Ireland tells Time, “We took him to the cat room and said, ‘Why don’t you practice reading here? The cats aren’t going to care if you mess up.’”

Youngsters not only have a chance to interact with the adorable cats, but they also can also earn prizes which encourages them to read more. When they complete five books, kids receive a prize like stickers or pretzels.

As it’s said on the shelter’s website: “The program will help children improve their reading skills while also helping the shelter animals. Cats find the rhythmic sound of a voice very comforting and soothing.”

According to research at Tufts University in Massachusetts pets are a source of support and human-animal interaction can make the learning process more comfortable and enjoyable for children.

Parents of children who have participated in the program are full of praise for the scheme, reports Metro.

“I want to thank you for giving my son the opportunity to participate in a program such as this one,” said one mother.

“I believe it truly helps him to not only read, but to help the animals who do not have warm loving homes, and that we must help speak up for the critters who do not have a voice.”

Another mother added: “This was a great experience for both of us and we are looking forward to coming back soon. Thanks for all you do for the animals.”

Earlier this month, “Book Buddies” garnered national attention after a photo of a boy reading to a cat at the Animal Rescue League was posted to Reddit by user Dagorlad. According to the Reddit thread, this resulted in a spike in donations to the shelter, with one commenter even asking how to donate from Istanbul.

After the viral Reddit post, the Animal Rescue League thanked everyone who helped and participated on its Facebook page.

It is interesting that it is not the only program involving children-animal communication. In Hamilton, Mont., kids read to shelter animals at the Bitter Root Humane Association through the Keystone to Discovery Enrichment program — a nonprofit for at-risk youths, says the Huff Post.

“We’ve seen that the sound of their voices is soothing for the dogs and cats,” Ria Overholt, Keystone program director, told Ravalli Republic. “It is relaxing to the dogs to hear those calm and steady voices.”

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