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Reading Program 

Hayward Animal  Shelter’s Reading Program allows children of all ages (must be accompanied by an adult) to come into the shelter and read to the animals during public hours.


The goals of the reading program are

* Help children increase their reading confidence and proficiency.

* Encourage empathy and compassion in children.

* Help comfort shy, fearful animals and ease their anxiety.

* Help shelter animals get adopted more quickly.


Reading is rewarding


All readers who participate in the program receive a bookmark upon completion of their first reading session.


Readers earn a sticker for their bookmark with each additional reading session they complete.


Super readers who fill up their book mark have the option of being featured on our reading wall for a period of time.


All readers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

Getting Started

* Come into the shelter during public hours: Tuesday -Saturday from 1-5 pm

*  Sign-in at the front desk (1st-time readers fill out a waiver and acknowledgment of rules)

* Bring or pick a book from our collection

* Bring or borrow something to sit on

* Read to the animals!



* Reading sessions are in 15 minute intervals.

* The number of animals in the shelter fluctuates throughout the year. There may be times when we do not have many animals to read to.

* You may be asked to wait for a spot to open up before reading to animals, if we are busy that day.

*  If an animal you are reading to has an adoption interest, you may be asked to pick another animal to read to.

* Animals are in kennels and will not be loose during reading sessions.

Reading photo.PNG

Why read to animals?

* Reading to animals increases reading proficiency while also helping children feel safer, happier, and more self-confident reading out loud ( UC Davis Study, WebMD, and

* Being read to helps shy and fearful animals become more comfortable with people because there is no forced interaction (


* Children who read aloud to dogs for 10 –15 Minutes per week experienced a 12% increase in reading proficiency, and students to took part in a reading program with animals for 13 months increased their reading proficiency by at least 2 grade levels according to a UC Davis study and


* While music has been shown to have a calming effect on shelter dogs, studies show that hearing audiobooks or being read to aloud is even more relaxing than music

(Applied Animal Behavior Science ;

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