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Reading to a pet or cuddly toy

Girl reading to teddy

One of the most enjoyable ways of preparing for story time is by finding a cosy, comfortable place for you and your child to be together. If you have a family pet or your child has a favourite cuddly toy then they can snuggle in and join you too.

Ask your child what they think their pet or toy needs to make them feel comfortable. Do they need a blanket or their pet bed? This will help your child to think about considering the needs of others.

Invite your child to choose the story you are going to read. As you read the story to the child, encourage them to keep contact with the pet or toy by holding it, stroking or cuddling it. Point out some of the detail in the pictures and ask questions about what your child can see in the illustrations. If something pictured is mentioned in the story, ask them to point to it.

When you have finished reading the story, your child can retell it in their own words, showing the pictures in the book to their pet or cuddly toy. This helps build and reinforce vocabulary so that they get to know and use more words.

As children get older and begin to learn to read, reading aloud to a pet or cuddly toy can be a great way to boost their confidence. They can practice their reading with the company of a pet or toy, without any worry of judgement.

RSPCA activities

The RSPCA has fun and free activities that teach children about the needs and feelings of animals, and promote positive relationships between children and pets.

Download the activities.

Good to know

Reading to a pet or toy will help a child become accustomed to hearing their voice as they read and will build their confidence in reading aloud to others. It is calming to have a pet or toy to keep them company as they read.

Girl with book and dog