ENCINITAS–Tails will be wagging this Friday afternoon thanks to the new Happy Tales reading program at Rancho Coastal Humane Society.
Once each month children ages 6 to 12 read to the adoptable dogs, cats and rabbits at the shelter. The results are amazing for the children as well as the animals.
RCHS Humane Educator Lizzie Hart explains that the children sit next to the kennels and cages and read to our animals. It helps the animals become more comfortable with children because there is no forced interaction. For pets who are nervous or shy, the sound of the children reading is calming.
A University of California, Davis study showed that children who read aloud to dogs for 10 to 15 minutes per week experienced a 12% increase in reading proficiency.
Children reported feeling “self-conscious, clumsy, and uncomfortable” when reading out loud. But when they read in the presence of a dog, the same children reported feelings of “happiness and safety.”
Happy Tales is for children ages 6 to 12 years old. Each session is limited to 8 children supervised by a parent. There is a one-time Orientation before participants can read to the animals. Closed-toed, rubber-soled shoes are required.
Children are welcome to bring a book to read to the animals or they can borrow a book from the library in Rancho Coastal Humane Society’s Humane Education center. They’re also welcome to bring their own pillow, blanket, or towel to sit on or use a carpet square provided by Rancho Coastal Humane Society.
To register a child to take part in Happy Tales or for more information about the program at Rancho Coastal Humane Society, visit the shelter at 389 Requeza Street in Encinitas, call (760) 753-6413, or visit www.sdpets.org.