Reading to our pets in a calm atmosphere boosts children’s confidence, and provides a unique learning experience for all.

Since 2013, in partnership with schools and groups in our community, Bide Awhile has hosted a reading program for children at the elementary grade level. Our Reading Circle is designed to assist shy children who have difficulty interacting with their peers on a social level, and are afraid to speak up in class or read aloud in front of others.

On scheduled days, the students are escorted to the Shelter by their home-room teacher or group leader. Each student is given a quiet space and provided with an attentive, furry audience. Reading aloud to the cats on a regular basis helps these students build self-confidence and develop their reading skills.

The cats offer unconditional acceptance and love in an environment that’s free from the judgment and criticism of others, which fosters learning and social interaction. Students show measured improvements in their reading abilities and increased confidence levels in social settings. Together, we cultivate awareness, respect and appreciation for the animals whose world we share, while nurturing young and future generations of pet owners and adopters.

Bide Awhile Animal Shelter is extremely excited to be offering this program, and are grateful to be giving back to a community that shares our conviction to create a humane society.

Reading Circle session sizes range from two to ten participants, and take place during the work/school day.

If your school, group or organization would be interested in attending a Reading Circle session, please contact Melissa McPhee by email at