An important part of cat rescue is socialising these little critters, so that they begin to trust and like being around humans. Most rescue programs will have volunteers who help out with this process, and the Animal Rescue League of Berks County established a brilliant Book Buddy program in 2013, that saw kids from Grades 1-8 invited to help out by reading to cats in their adoption room. And it helped the kids too.
Cats find the rhythmic sound of a voice very comforting and soothing.
The Book Buddies Program was implemented by then-ARL Program Coordinator, Kristi Rodriguez. Her son, Sean, who’s a 10 year old 5th grader, served as an inspiration for the program. He struggled with reading at school and so she brought him in to read to the cats and he loved it so much, he asked to come back. She knew if her son liked reading to the cats, then other children would as well. The program officially began in August 2013 and since then Sean has shown remarkable improvement in his reading and now often reads to their dogs at home.
The kids loved it; the cats loved it; and parents saw it as an invaluable part of their child’s reading prowess, and social education. Here are images of some of the children who participated in the Book Buddy program.