Okay, I think we're all ready for a win-win.
Dogs and cats as pets have never been more numerous, but a lot of animals are collateral damage, and have less than happy lives. Those who aren't abused (or aren't abused anymore) but shy away from humans, still have less chance of survival. In a better world being a people animal wouldn't matter so much. But that's the way it is now.
When these animals wind up in shelters, they have less chance of being adopted. Feral animals who hide or cower don't seem like promising pets. Their lives may then turn out to be quite short.
On the other hand there are children who have trouble reading, or who can't see the point of reading. (Even before they get to the teen years when smart phones and pheromones dominate, and "books smell like old people.")
Then along came some genius to turn two apparently unrelated problems into one solution: kids reading to shelter animals (this article focuses on dogs, but it's also being done for cats.)
Being read to by a child stirs the animal's curiosity, and a child's voice is less threatening. To what degree this actually increases the animal's social skills, who knows, but it does familiarize them with humans and human speech, in a safe place.
Meanwhile a kid who likes reading has somebody to read to, and to show the pictures to, just like a parent or teacher. Or a kid who doesn't read too well is not facing a critic who picks at pronunciation or even aspects of the story that strictly speaking aren't reflected in the text.
It probably doesn't always work--the dog or cat is bored, or the child is--but it seems to work often enough to be a lovely win-win, and maybe the beginning of a beautiful friendship.