In an effort to socialize homeless companion animals and ensure that they’re comfortable being around humans, a number of shelters across the country are engaging in reading programs, whereby a volunteer sits in a room with a cat or dog (or a group of them) and reads to them.

Animal Rescue League of Berks County (Berks ARL) in Birdsboro, Penn., has taken a slightly different approach to this program model by offering it to children instead of just adults. In this way, the program helps children “improve their reading skills while also helping the shelter animals,” as Berks ARL writes online.

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Children in grades one through eight are invited to participate and, so far, the program has received rave reviews from both kids and parents alike.

As one parent, Heather Colon, wrote to Berks ARL, “Just a short thank you, Mattighan loved reading to the cats on 12/31/13 and has talked about it non-stop since then. She was thrilled to see her picture on your web site and has received many calls from people who also viewed it. 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.”

While cats do seem to find the sounds of the children’s reading voices soothing, it also offers them a chance to cuddle and play out their regular socialization times, bringing them an extra dose of comfort during their hopefully short shelter stays.

Check out just a handful of photos from Berks ARL kid’s reading program below!

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Animal Rescue League of Berks County
Animal Rescue League of Berks County
Animal Rescue League of Berks County
Animal Rescue League of Berks County
Animal Rescue League of Berks County
Animal Rescue League of Berks County
Animal Rescue League of Berks County
Animal Rescue League of Berks County
Animal Rescue League of Berks County
Animal Rescue League of Berks County

Lead image source: Animal Rescue League of Berks County