Story time isn’t just for kids. In fact, it is a purr-fect past time for some of our furry neighbors.
Griffin Pond Animal Shelter (GPAS), 967 Griffin Pond Road, opened the book on Pages for Purrs, its new cat enrichment program for 2020, on Sunday, Jan. 5. The program is offered to community members and friends.
Jacob Torba, the shelter’s fundraising coordinator, said the program “opens our doors to the public, especially the youth, to come visit with the animals while reading to our cats in order to offer some enrichment during their stay at GPAS.”
Pages for Purrs is offered every first Sunday of each month during 2020 from noon to 1:30 p.m. at GPAS. Those willing to participate may bring their favorite book or books and read to one or a few of the shelter’s adoptable cats.
Torba said there are no requirements for guest readers.
“Anyone is welcome to participate,” he said. “We ask that those participating bring their favorite books to read, but we will be offering books as well.”
He noted that the shelter is starting to reach out to local school districts with promotional items for this program in order to gain some regular participants.
The idea for Pages for Purrs was brought up by a former employee at Griffin Pond, according to Torba.
“We used to hold this program periodically as a volunteer workshop but we decided for 2020 to make it a regular program here at the shelter,” he said. “We are really just looking to invite the community to visit the shelter and take part in something all while bettering the lives of the adoptables we have here.”
Torba said GPAS hopes this program will benefit readers “by improving their reading skills and helping them gain some community service hours (if needed).”
According to scholastic.com, practicing reading aloud to animals can benefit your child in ways such as:
Motivation: Often children will bond with the animal they are reading to and be motivated to visit that animal over and over again to read aloud.
Confidence: When a child reads to an animal, there is no judgment. A child can stumble through a word, read at a choppy rate, or take an extended amount of time to read a passage. The animal remains a consistent listening companion. Over time, a child will begin to feel more comfortable reading aloud, thus building reading confidence.
Fluency: Reading fluency, including reading speed and phrasing, improves with reading aloud and practicing the same material over and over. This safe listening environment provides opportunities for kids to rack up lots of practice time.
Reading for a Purpose: The benefits of reading to animals isn’t just for the children. Animals are also helped from the attention they receive. It gives kids a sense of purpose when they sense the animals are benefiting from their kindness and attention through the act of reading.
Torba agrees that “Pages for Purrs” serves as enrichment for adoptable cats at the shelter.
“As we do play with them with donated toys and such, this is a new way for them to have some one on one interaction with people,” he said.
For more information on Pages for Purrs, call 570-586-3700 or visit
griffinpondanimalshelter.com or the shelter’s Facebook page.