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Library Launches Kitty 'Litter'acy Project to Help Readers, Shelter Cats

FAYETTEVILLE -- A new library program is hoping to hone young readers' skills while giving some company to friendly felines.
FAYETTEVILLE --  A new library program is hoping to hone young readers' skills while giving some company to friendly felines.

The Fayetteville Public Library and Fayetteville Animal Shelter is accepting applications for Cat Tales: the Kitty Litteracy Project.

Students will sign up to read to cats at the shelter for one 30-minute session per week for six weeks.

“­Young readers are often intimidated by the idea of reading in group settings,” explained Alyson Low, Youth Services Librarian and Fayetteville Animal Shelter volunteer in  a press release. “Many students find that reading to animals makes the learning process more comfortable and enjoyable by removing the pressures of an evaluative environment.”

When a participant graduates from Cat Tales, they will receive a certificate recognizing their achievement in reading and their volunteerism. The library will provide books for the sessions.

The library previously held a similar program called “Sit, Stay, Read”, pairing readers with therapy dogs at local schools. Cat Tales builds off this program’s success, says a library spokesperson, by giving students the opportunity to read to animals outside of school.

Fayetteville Animal Shelter's Justine Lentz says the benefits of the program aren't just for the readers.

“We’re excited that we can get the cats out of their cages so that they can listen to human voices,” the Animal Services Superintendent said. “It’s always great for the cats to get more socialization.” As cats become more socialized, they become more likely to be adopted, Lentz said.

The program is for students in grades K – 5. Students can sign up at the library’s children’s desk beginning Monday, March 31.

A similar program caught national attention after pictures of readers and their shelter pals were posted to Reddit and went viral.  The program, "Book Buddies" was hosted by The Animal Rescue League of Berks County, PA.  You can see more of those pictures here.
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