Established in 2013 when a staff member was looking for opportunities for her son to improve his reading skills while cats at the shelter received extra companionship, our Book Buddies program quickly gained national recognition and became a beloved program among school-aged children in Berks County and beyond. Book Buddies is open to children in grades 1-8 who wish to practice their reading skills by reading out loud to cats in the shelter. Cats provide a non-judgmental and enthusiastic audience as they are soothed by the rhythmic sound of the children reading stories they bring from home or one they choose from the ARL’s expansive library. Readers are welcome to interact and read to the cats kennel side on our adoption floor anytime we’re open during regular business hours. During select times of the year when we have healthy and well-socialized cats, our free-roaming cat colonies may be open for readers as well.
To learn more about this program, the ARL invites children and their parents/guardians to a volunteer orientation before they begin reading to the cats. To view and register for an upcoming volunteer orientation, please visit our events calendar.