You’ve heard that reading to pets is good for kids. That it’s encouraging for them to have a non-judgmental furry, finned or scaled friend as an audience. Maybe you’ve even taken your children to a read-to-a-dog event at your local library.
But libraries are closed at the moment, and everyone is learning (and doing everything else) at home. If you have pets at home, you can keep them, and the kids, a bit happier with a good book. And Pet Partners, an organization that registers therapy animals, is offering some resources to make that more fun.
“Reading to pets is an amazing way to get children excited about reading when they can’t be in school,” says Annie Peters, president and CEO of Pet Partners. “Children who are learning to read are often hesitant about their reading abilities. Many kids feel more at ease reading to pets, who are simply there to listen – not to judge how well they are reading.”
As part of its “We Are All Ears” initiative, the organization offers these tips for read-to-your-pet success:
- Set up a comfortable spot for the reader and pet to sit.
- Make sure the reader will be able to show the pet pictures from the book.
- Pets can get distracted, so have a favorite pet toy on hand to keep the pet engaged if needed.
- Encourage your child to pause and pet your animal to keep them settled down and comfortable during the reading session.
- Reward your pet for their good listening behavior with a treat at the end of the reading session.
Pet Partners is inviting families to take a pledge to read at home to their pets, choosing a reading goal that is right for them – a certain number of books, pages, chapters or minutes of reading time. Families that take photos and videos of their kid-pet reading time can share them online with the hashtags #WeAreAllEars and #PetPartners.
The We Are All Ears campaign also includes a reading log, bookmark templates and a special BINGO card, all to help encourage regular reading. A Certificate of Completion is also available for parents to present to their child and pets upon reaching their goals. And there is an official We Are All Ears T-shirt for sale, with proceeds benefiting Pet Partners.