Getting kids to do their summer reading can be an effort, but a community outreach program in a North Philadelphia SPCA encourages students to boost their skills by reading to an unlikely and appealing audience: shelter cats. Third through eighth graders spend time reading to four or five cats during the 30-minute sessions. Despite their reputation for being too cool for school and somewhat aloof, the cats have proven to be rapt listeners and love the sound of the children’s voices as they read from popular books (regardless of their reading level). We’ve written about reading programs involving shelter dogs before, and whether curious canines or furry and purry felines are the listeners, these low pressure programs have the dual benefit of strengthening kids’ reading skills while the shelter animals soak up love and attention and learn essential socialization skills. The program is a wonderful way to get the community involved in helping cats become more adoptable. Philadelphia is estimated to have more than 1/4 million homeless street cats! The Pennsylvania SPCA program, adorably named “Cat Tales,” is running all summer long.
Image via Pennsylvania SPCA