"cats-helping-public-speaking"A new initiative is using cats to help children not only improve their literacy skills but also to build confidence in public speaking.

The Kitty Litter-a-ture programme is an ingenious initiative that has been set up by a vet in Canada who has managed to combine finding new homes for abandoned cats with improving public speaking skills in children.

Volunteers are invited to come to the animal hospital in Toronto to take part in Kitty Litter-a-ture which involves children sitting with cats and then reading to them out load from their books.

The reading sessions are open to primary school children every week and are seen as a very effective method of encouraging reading, public speaking and forming bonds between children and cats that really need to find a new home.

Scott Bainbridge, the owner of the Dundas West Animal Hospital told Global News: “The goal of the programme is to help me promote these cats and help them find forever homes.”

He added: “The secondary goal is the cats are getting well socialised and it’s prompting these kids to read.”

Children who take part in the Kitty Litter-a-ture programme have found that for them there is also the benefit of becoming a more confident public speaker – even if at first the readings are just for the cats!

On child who attends the Kitty Litter-a-ture sessions is Calum Bainbridge.  He told Global News: “I feel more confident reading because the cats are sort of like a little audience…it makes me feel more confident reading in front of people.”

It seems that the Kitty Litter-a-ture sessions are a win/win initiative both for the cats and the children that take part.  The parent of one of the children said: “When we signed up for the Kitty Litter-a-ture programme (one of the cats) Sweet Pea had kittens and we took one of them home.  I think it has taught them (her children) responsibility just in terms of caring for cats.  It also really boosts their reading confidence”.

A common problem when it comes to public speaking is a matter of confidence in the person making the speech.  If it is possible to build up your confidence by speaking or reading out loud to a non critical audience such as an animal, then this is a great place to start.

If children are able to become confident public speakers at a young age then this will prepare them for later lie and make the entire process of public speaking more comfortable and enjoyable immediately.

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