The Animal Welfare League of Arlington announced the launch of its new Paws and Read program at it’s animal shelter at 2650 S. Arlington Mill Dr., Arlington, last Thursday. Starting today schoolchildren in kindergarten – 5th grade can come to the shelter to read with one of the shelter’s cats during a 20 minute session between 1 – 5:20 p.m.
According to a press release sent out by the welfare league the program was launched to coincide with Dr. Seuss’ birthday and to celebrate his world renowned book The Cat in the Hat. “The program is an AWLA education initiative designed to help children improve and enhance their reading skills, while at the same time providing shelter cats with socialization and TLC,” the release said. “As opposed to humans, the shelter cats are nonjudgmental, and animals can be a source of comfort and support for children as they learn.”
The program runs on every weekday except for Tuesday and a parent is required to accompany the participating child. Children can choose from the Animal Welfare League of Arlington’s selection of stories or bring one of their own to read to one of the cats, which are labeled with a “Purrrfect Reader” label on their kennel.
“Children that have difficulty reading are often self-conscious when reading in front of other classmates,” said Jennifer Pickar, the director of community programs at the Animal Welfare League of Arlington. “Having a playful, purring companion around can make reading more fun and help to build the child’s self-esteem.” For more information about the program, visit awla.org.