Preschoolers read to the animals at the Baltimore Humane Society

Preschoolers read to the animals at the Baltimore Humane Society (Courtesy of Baltimore Humane Society / April 25, 2014)

What’s one of the best ways to get young children to practice their reading skills? Have them read to a pet -- the animal loves the attention and offers the perfect, non-judgmental audience for young readers. Which is exactly why the Baltimore’ Humane Society’s new Read to the Animals program makes a lot of sense.

Earlier this week, a group of preschoolers from the Sweet Potato Kids in Randallstown visited the Baltimore Humane’s no-kill shelter to read to its homeless dogs and other animals.

In a scene that looked more like a classroom than a kennel, the children shared their favorite stories and books with dogs (who soaked up that wonderful love like sponges), along with special drawings they’d done just for the animals.

The program, which will run on the third Thursday of every month, offers the little humans a chance to practice their reading skills and develop a love of the written word, while the dogs, cats, and bunnies who listen can learn to enjoy the company of children and bask in one-on-one attention.

Baltimore Humane Society representatives say they hope to increase the frequency of the reading sessions or develop new partners for the program in addition to Sweet Potato Kids.