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Book-buddies program

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Purr-fect companions: Program pairs cats with kids learning reading

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Youngster Colby Procyk, 7, just loves to read.

This wasn’t always the situation though. Some months ago, Colby fought with learning reading and was uncomfortable if called on in class to read…. no “loves” of any type was involved then from his perspective.

Book Buddies program-cat and kid

The Animal Rescue League of Berks County came to the rescue. Their Book Buddies program reversed things for Colby. He’s now one of the kids learning to read much better… and really loves his role in the program.

Colby goes to the animal shelter, once or twice a week, and reads to cats along with other kids. The special program couples about 30 children a week with felines waiting for adoption.

Relaxes kid, calms cat

Grabbing the cats attention is occasionally a trial but the kids aren’t too concerned. The Book Buddies program aids the children in relaxation and helps them read better. The shelter declares that the company helps calm and socialize the cats….a learning and loves to experience for both cat and kid.

“It doesn’t matter to them [the cats] what the book is about, how well the child reads to them or anything like that,” said Kristi Rodriguez, a volunteer and program coordinator at the center. “They just love the one-on-one contact that the kids provide.”

Colby has a love of reading now- the program works

At the start of the school year, Colby was reading below grade level. Recently, he received a learning award for most improved student in his second-grade class.

“I’ve seen a big growth in his reading ability and his confidence,” said his teacher Nicole Gonzalez.

Colby’s mother, Katie Procyk, said the program has really helped.

“It makes him absolutely confident in his reading ability and he’s more inclined to read now,” she said.

Yes, it definitely can be said that Colby just loves to read now…. Especially to his cat.

Source: ABC News story- Ron Claiborne & Rachel Humphries

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