A Missouri animal shelter is offering kids the chance to do volunteer work while practicing their reading skills.
The Shelter Buddies Reading Program at the Humane Society of Missouri matches kids ages 6 to 15 with shelter dogs to help prepare them for adoption. "Reading to the dogs helps to bring comfort to and reduce the anxiety of shelter pets, and it nurtures empathy in children," states the program's online description.
After undergoing training, each child sits outside a dog's kennel and reads a story from the shelter's library of over 100 animal-themed books. Similar programs exist for dogs and cats through shelters and libraries across the U.S.
As the Shelter Buddies Reading Program website notes, "Reading helps shy dogs learn to relax around people and teaches high energy dogs that calm behavior is desirable."
And as the above video shows, reading to these animals can be an enriching experience for everyone involved.