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Member Spotlight: The Best Listeners Have Whiskers

If there’s one thing parents and their kids can agree on, it’s that learning to read is no easy task. One of the best ways to improve reading skills is by reading aloud, but some children find it hard to read in front of people for fear of judgement, especially from a parent or teacher. They may become embarrassed of their developing skills, and eventually lose motivation, feeling that they’ll just never be able to read well. But what if kids had a relaxing environment where they could work on their reading skills with a cuddly friend?

The Butler County Humane Society’s Shelter Buddies Reading Program provides just that. Through their program, children from 1st through 8th grade work to build their fluency and literacy skills by reading to friendly feline companions. Kids share their own personal favorite stories or choose from a variety of books provided by the shelter. The calming environment encourages kids (and cats) to relax and go at their own pace.

By reading to a furry friend, children build up their confidence – they’re free to repeat passages, take breaks, and sound out words to their heart’s content. And thankfully, cats will never be bothered by hearing Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat over a dozen times a day.

But kids aren’t the only ones benefitting from this program: studies have shown that our furry companions enjoy being read to just as much as we enjoy reading to them. Being in the company of a caring person and listening to a quiet, soothing voice has been proven to reduce stress levels in shelter animals and have a positive influence on their overall temperament.

The experience creates a lasting bond between animals and readers, giving readers a sense of purpose and a boost in motivation, while also possibly finding shelter animals their forever home.

Butler County Humane Society and their feline friends are eagerly awaiting new readers! Those interested in participating in this unique program can call B.C.H.S. at 724-789-1150 to find out about scheduling a session or visit to see which dates are scheduled.


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