Paws Up for Pawsitive Reading

The Jacksonville Humane Society has a variety of ways for the community to get involved. One of their most popular is Pawsitive Reading, a free program that connects shelter dogs and cats with people who want to read aloud to them. The program is primarily geared towards children who want to practice their reading but anyone can participate. Pawsitive reading is also a good fit for students who need service hours. 

Pawsitive Reading was created after the Humane Society staff realized the soothing effect of reading on animals. The attention is calming and gives them an incentive to come to the front of their kennel, said Lindsey Layendecker, spokesperson for the Jacksonville Humane Society. 

“It teaches them that hey, something great happens at the front of my kennel. A tiny person is reading me a story.” 

This can increase the chances of getting adopted, as the dogs can be seen by potential owners, calmly listening to a story at the front of their cage. It builds confidence for the animals and the kids reading, says Layendecker. 

“When you read out loud, you build your reading stamina, you improve your literacy skills and it’s just good for confidence-boosting. Dogs and cats don’t judge. They don’t care if you stumble over a word, they don’t care if you go really slowly or if you miss a punctuation mark. So it’s a really great confidence booster and it’s motivational.”

Anyone can come read to the Humane Society cats and dogs during their normal business hours.

For more information, check out the pawsitive reading page at