We all know the importance of reading to children when they’re little. And if you’re a parent – then you’ve likely had many memorable nights with your child that included storytime (which is a perfect way to help them fall asleep, win-win).
One girl from Staunton, Virginia has her own storytime ritual. But instead of being read to, she’s the one doing all the reading, and her audience isn’t other children. She likes to read to a horse every morning!
Having bonding time with animals can be a special part of childhood. For Alayna, she not only gets to ride her “four-legged friends,” but she also helps take care of them too.
The girl’s mom, Tera Rae Fauver, owns Break Away Show Horses. It’s a business that specializes in training horses and showing them in the American Paint Horse Association and the American Quarter Horse Association arenas. Young Alayna shares her mom’s passion and even competes as well.
There’s one horse, in particular, that Alayna bonded with.
Phantom is a painted horse that she loved to visit in the stable outside her house. In fact, they were so close that Alayna decided to make him her reading buddy! Every morning before heading off to school, she’d go into his pen for storytime.
One day, the heartwarming ritual was captured on film.
In the video, mom Tera quietly walks through the stable, and you can hear Alayna’s voice echoing in the background. According to WGN9, the story for the day was about another type of animal – dogs! Well, dachshunds to be specific.
Alayna can be seen adorably reading from a book while the horse hangs over her shoulder. It appears Phantom wants to cuddle – or perhaps he just wants to see the pictures.
But like a patient school teacher, Alayna doesn’t let the horse distract her.
She simply moves away a bit and continues to read from the book. The girl does a really great job with reading aloud too – which isn’t easy for a lot of kids. You can tell though, that the practice with Phantom is probably paying off. Another win-win!
Reading to animals has many benefits.
Programs like the one from the Pet Adoption League give kids a chance to read to shelter dogs. The animals aren’t the only ones who benefit from the storytime sessions either. According to the organization’s website, it can be beneficial to the child emotionally, socially, and help improve their reading skills.
Below are a few specific benefits of reading to dogs:
“Some children feel that reading becomes less difficult when reading to a dog and are more willing to read aloud at school … The process of petting dogs can help with motor skills and is also known to be a calming factor that can reduce stress, blood pressure, and anxiety … Communication skills can be improved by practicing reading aloud.”
Although Phantom isn’t a dog, reading aloud to horses is a beautiful, positivity activity too.
The viral video of Alayna reading to Phantom is just so sweet.
From what it seems, the two have a very special friendship. Alayna surely loved her mornings reading to her horse friend before school – and there’s no doubt the feelings were mutual. The whole stable probably looked forward to it!