Children calm shelter animals by reading to them

Photo Credit: Bitter Root Humane Association – Facebook

Montana’s Hamilton School District #3 has an after school program where Keystone school children spend an afternoon a week reading to shelter dogs and cats awaiting their forever homes.

This program has been running for three years now and every week, children visit Bitter Root Humane Association to read to their four-legged audience.

Keystone Program Director Ria Overholt said the animals aren’t the only ones who benefit.

“We’ve seen that the sound of [children's] voices is soothing for the dogs and cats,” said Overholt. “It is relaxing to the dogs to hear those calm and steady voices.”

“I really like to read to them,” said Keystone student Gavin Vineyard. “It feels like a nice thing to do. They always seem to calm down after you start reading.”

Parents of school kids participating in the program said that reading has taken a new meaning for their children. Overholt also said that the program has helped students strengthened their reading skills.

According to Eve Burnsides, Bitter Root Humane Association manager, the program is good for everyone.

“The kids enjoy it and the dogs really enjoy it,” said Burnsides. “[On May 25, 2013,] they had just finished eating when the kids showed up. They got to digest their meal to the sound of stories being read to them in nice, calm, reassuring voices.”

The program is helping children improve their reading skills while teaching them a valuable lesson. “It helps the kids realize that animals react and have feelings too,” said Burnsides.

This story was originally written for Missoulian by reporter Perry Backus. Read the full story now.

 



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3 comments

  • June 10, 2013 8:47 pmPosted 1 year ago
    meowmeowmans

    That is just awesome! What a terrific program for the kids and the animals. :)

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    June 11, 2013 2:29 amPosted 1 year ago
    Kara

    What a BRILLIANT idea!!! Whoever thought of this is a genius!! 1) you’re helping the kids strengthen their reading skills. 2) calming the dogs and giving them a “friend” for a bit so they aren’t so lonely. 3)teaching the kids about animal behaviors and the issues they have to deal with in the shelter. 4) teaching the kids about empathy or sympathy etc.!! This is just a win-win-win…!!! Love it! I’m going to suggest this to my local shelters in Maine!!

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    June 11, 2013 1:45 pmPosted 1 year ago
    Darryl

    EVERYBODY WINS!!!! Great idea!

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