TeachKind Rescue Stories: Herman the Duckling’s First Swim

Stories of people helping animals are all over the internet, and sharing them with your students is an excellent way to encourage kindness both in and out of the classroom. Because most children naturally feel compassion for animals, sharing rescue stories is a great way to engage and motivate different types of learners and encourage them to take action to help end animal abuse.

Each TeachKind Rescue Stories reading comprehension worksheet tells a different animal’s tale of transformation and features key vocabulary words and questions in order to encourage literal, inferential, and evaluative thinking. These worksheets were used in a study that found that students who read passages about having compassion for animals performed significantly better on Common Core–aligned assessments, demonstrating that instructional time need not be sacrificed in order to instill empathy in young people!

This rescue story is about Herman, an adorable duckling PETA fieldworkers rescued from a filthy, rusty cage. He’s all grown up now and loving life at his new home, where he gets to swim and interact with other ducks every day.

Herman, a duck rescued by PETA, arrives at his new home

Use other TeachKind resources to create an entire lesson around it. You can use this worksheet to address the following Common Core English language arts standards:




Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.

Be sure to watch Herman’s inspiring rescue video—in which he goes for his very first swim—to help bring the tale to life:

Download June’s Rescue Story Reading Comprehension Worksheet!

Download this lesson in digital format here!

Please share these resources to inspire other teachers to incorporate compassion for animals into their curricula.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind