Students shared the tales of what happens when you give a moose a muffin and Max’s adventures in “Where the Wild Things Are.”

Their audience listened quietly, snuggling up in the students’ laps, purring or letting out a little bark.

About 15 students from Hoosier Academies, an online home-school program, read to the animals at the Humane Society of Johnson County on Wednesday. Their partnership started in an effort to teach kids fluency while reading and to help socialize animals who can be adopted.

Reading aloud to animals can help kids who may mispronounce a word or stutter while reading, said Anne Sutton, executive director of the Humane Society of Johnson County.

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“An animal won’t giggle or judge you if you pronounce a word wrong,” she said.

And the reading helps acclimate the animals to people, making them easier to adopt, Sutton said.

Some of the students clustered around a few kittens who need the interaction with people, since kittens have short spans of time when they can be socialized to be adoptable, Sutton said.

The trip was part of a statewide initiative by Hoosier Academies to get home-schooled students in shelters and humane societies to read to animals, said Dana Smith, Title I coordinator for Hoosier Academies.

Students read to animals at six sites across the state, including in Johnson County.

Parents also were able to get tips for how to help their children read, said Rachael Borrelli, family engagement coordinator for Hoosier Academies.

And students get a creative way to learn, she said.

“We love to bring them out for creative reasons,” she said.

Sutton also showed the students where the animals are kept and how they are cared for. Another goal allowing students to come in and read is to create lifelong responsible pet owners, Sutton said.

“As we look at it, these kids will be the pet owners of the future,” she said.

Magen Kritsch is an editorial assistant at the Daily Journal. She can be reached at or 317-736-2770.