The Animal Rescue League of Berks County has a program called Book Buddies that welcomes children in grades 1-8 to their shelter to read books of any grade level to cats. The young boys and girls are invited into the adoption room, where they’re able to pet and play with the adorable felines while also refining their own reading skills. Through pictures, it’s clear that they each provide beneficial comfort to one another.
Beyond what may just look like fun and happiness in pictures, though, the shelter insists that “cats find the rhythmic sound of a voice very comforting and soothing” and studies by researchers at Tufts University support the idea that “human-animal interaction can make the learning process more comfortable and enjoyable for children.” In the case of Book Buddies, children are more keen on reading when it’s to the cuddly kitties.
The ARL Program Coordinator behind the Book Buddies program, Kristi Rodriquez, was actually inspired by her 10-year-old son Sean to organize the voluntary activity for children. When she noticed Sean’s apprehension for reading, she brought him to the shelter and found that he was far more eager to pick up a book and read to the cats. Apparently, he was so taken by the act of reading to the cats that he wanted to go back and read more. Now, Sean has inspired more parents to enroll their children in the program, who are more than happy to read to their furry little buddies.