Reading Program Returns to Local Animal Shelter

We all remember having a story read to us at a young age, and the feelings of comfort and safety we experienced sitting quietly next to a loved one.

Last fall, the magic of storytelling arrived at Gladwin County Animal Shelter.

In November 2018, Gladwin County 4-H recruited nine young members to read stories to the animals in residence at the Shelter. Over 50 stories were shared with the animals throughout the school year.

“This was the first time we partnered with the Shelter, and the program was a big hit with the kids and the animals. We’re excited to expand the program this year and involve more local kids,” noted Melissa Preston, 4-H Program Coordinator.

The program provides benefits for the youth who are reading, and the animals who are listening.

This program allows participants to build confidence in their reading skills by reading to a non-biased listener and sounding out words and syllables.

“We surveyed parents of readers, and they reported that their kids were more confident in their reading and that they were reading more often after participating in the program,” explained Preston.

Animals can experience stress when in unfamiliar environments, and benefit from the calm companionship of storytelling as they wait to be adopted or rescued.

“Our social media posts, which featured the kids interacting with and reading to the animals, were shared numerous times to hundreds, if not thousands, of people. The Shelter staff do an amazing job helping the animals of Gladwin County, and if we can help these animals find forever homes by showcasing the reading program it’s a win-win,” said Preston.

With school back in session, the program is now recruiting readers from across Gladwin County. The reading program will return to the Shelter in October, and readers will receive a complimentary t-shirt courtesy of Main Street Designs located at 311 West Cedar Avenue in Gladwin.

“We believe in this program and in the great work the Shelter does each and every day for the animals of Gladwin County. We hope the t-shirts help each reader feel more empowered to make a difference in their community,” shared Laura Nickel, owner of Main Street Designs.

For more information about the program or to register a reader, contact Melissa Preston at prest142@msu.edu or (989) 426-7741.

About Gladwin County Animal Shelter

Gladwin County Animal Shelter began operation in 1976, and is dedicated to serving the needs of the animals and citizens of Gladwin County. In 2018, the Shelter cared for over 650 animals, and continues to make every effort possible to find forever loving homes for each and every one. Follow the Shelter on Facebook at facebook.com/GladwinAnimalShelter.

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