Sharing the joy of reading

Submitted Photo Children read to feline friends at the ‘Kitty City’ located in the Souris Valley Animal Shelter.

Children are invited to experience a judgment free reading experience during the Souris Valley Animal Shelter’s “Read to the Animals” program, Friday, from noon- 1 p.m.

Founded in 2016, “Read to the Animals” is designed to help children retain their reading skills over their summer break.

In addition to providing academic benefits, children also gain a unique opportunity to bond with canine and feline friends.

“Studies have shown that reading to animals can improve a child’s reading skills, particularly confidence in reading aloud,” said Justin Anderson, the community outreach coordinator of the Souris Valley Animal Shelter. “Animals won’t judge or correct the young reader, but they do appreciate being read to.”

As children read a story of their choosing, the company of a cat or dog can create an enriching experience.

“Children sit down in ‘Kitty City’ and start reading, before they know it, there’s a cat curled up in their lap,” Anderson said. “A dog that has been running around in circles will sit down and listen. It really is amazing to see the relationship between the pet and the young reader. Both pet and child get something rewarding out of the experience, and both have fun doing it as well.”

For Anderson and members of the Souris Valley Animal Shelter, “Read to the Animals” is a great opportunity to be a community resource providing humane education along with scholastic assistance.

Free to the public with no registration required, “Read to the Animals” will take place twice a week, Tuesday, from 6- 7 p.m. and Friday, noon-1 p.m.

Group sessions can be arranged by contacting Justin Anderson at