Kids Read to Shelter Dogs to Help Them Get Adopted

This amazing program feeds three birds with one scone.


Pets, Community
Kids reading to shelter dogs

(Anna Hoychuk /

The Humane Society of Missouri has created a recipe for love and literacy with its program that pairs kids learning to read with dogs waiting to be adopted. The Shelter Buddies Reading Program matches kids aged 6-15 with shy or fearful dogs at the shelter. After signing up online, the kids complete a 10-hour training program that includes learning how to read (no pun intended) a dog’s body language. After training, the young volunteers are encouraged to sit in front of the dog’s kennel and read a book to them.

The program’s director, Jo Klepacki told The Dodo, "hearing a child reading can really calm those animals. It is incredible, the response we've seen in these dogs." Since the dogs are rewarded with treats if they approach and show interest, they later feel more comfortable coming forward to interact with potential adopters, increasing their chances of being adopted.

And, of course, the kids get something out of this too. Besides getting a chance to improve their reading skills, this program helps children develop empathy for animals. Klepacki says, “it encourages them to look at things from an animal's perspective. That helps them better connect with animals and people in their lives." Not to mention, the children get to experience the value and benefits of volunteerism firsthand.

By promoting literacy, empathy, and volunteerism while helping dogs find their forever home, this program is truly a win-win for everyone.

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