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Deaf Children Learn To Read Aloud Thanks To Shelter Cats

As part of a program offered by Seattle Humane, deaf and hearing-impaired children practice their speech by reading aloud to cats.

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Students from Northwest School for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children take a break from reading to visit with their "captive audience." Via KING 5 News

The Seattle Humane animal shelter is helping deaf children feel more comfortable in a hearing world by offering up their cats as reading buddies.

Kitty Literature is a unique program that gives deaf children 5-10 years old an opportunity to practice their speech and language by reading aloud to cute and cuddly cats housed at the shelter in Bellevue, Washington.

Recently, KING 5 News visited one of the sessions during which students from Northwest School for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children in nearby Shoreline showed off their reading skills.

Students practice reading at Seattle Humane. Via Seattle Humane/Facebook

Students can pick out their book in advance so they can practice at home and school. Via Seattle Humane/Facebook

“They do surprise me all the time with what they know. And they’re teachers also,” Northwest School teacher Danise Ito told the station. “They have to teach other people who don’t know about hearing loss.”

The Kitty Literature program benefits both the students and the cats. Students get the chance to practice their speech without judgment (and play with cats!), while the interaction helps to socialize the cats.

“I think it’s great,” Jennifer Whitworth of Seattle Humane told KING 5. “I think anytime kids can have some positive interactions with animals is a great benefit to them and the animals because the animals are seeing that humans, kids, adults aren’t that scary.”

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