SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - Nine-year-old Josiah Solis spends his free time reading to animals. He struggles a bit because of his dyslexia but he said the animals don't seem to mind.
"They listen to me and it's really nice because a lot of kids in school they don't do that," he said. "Then whenever you mess up they laugh at you in school; but animals don't do that."
Josiah's mom, Debbie Solis, wanted to help her son improve in reading. So she had an idea when Josiah didn't want to do his homework.
"I was having a hard time getting Josiah to read [and] to do his homework every night," she said. "He didn't want to [read out loud] so I got him to read to our dog."
Solis said she saw a program online that described how kids would read to strays at animal shelters to make them feel welcomed; she figured this could help her son. That's when she decided to contact the Humane Society's Pets Fur People to see if they could help. Josiah's been reading to all sorts of cats and dogs ever since.
Solis said she's seen a huge improvement in her son's confidence and reading abilities.
"He feels like he has a purpose reading to the pets; so it's done something to him," she said. "He just thinks he's all that; he's [always] reading out loud now."
She said this opportunity is spreading across the community.
"It's catching on; we had a mom contact us with her daughter who's dyslexic and I think people are starting to see this could really help," she said.