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ERIC Number: ED515250
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 157
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1096-8537-4
Animal Assisted Therapy and the Reading Education Assistance Dogs[RTM] (R.E.A.D.) Program as Perceived by Volunteer R.E.A.D. Facilitators: A National Study
Swift, Catherine Hayes
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi
This study investigated the demographics and perceptions of participants who utilize animals in academic programs, specifically the volunteers who use dogs to work with at-risk children in reading programs. It presented an argument for incorporating research-supported elements of reading tutor skills into the volunteer tutor training for the Reading Education Assistance Dogs [R] (R.E.A.D.) program as a foundation for animal-assisted therapy. The descriptive study made use of an electronic survey to collect the quantitative data. The survey was distributed to the members of the R.E.A.D. program by the Intermountain Therapy Animals organization. Participants were asked to provide information regarding their background, employment status, profession, training, and their reason for offering their volunteer service. They were also asked about the nature of their program, how many children they tutored during the 2007-2008 school year, and the total number of hours spent tutoring during that timeframe. They identified the animal assisted activity and animal assisted therapy groups that they belonged to, as well as the city and state where that group was located. They were asked to describe the location, length and duration of the tutoring sessions, and to rate the level of program support offered by the staff at the host locations. They were also asked how much time they spent studying for the R.E.A.D. test, and how they acquired that training. They were asked specifically about their reason for volunteering. Most importantly, they were asked if they felt the current training was sufficient to conduct effective reading sessions, and they were asked to respond to suggestions for additional training on literacy strategies. Finally, they were asked for their perceptions of the participating children's beginning and concluding states of fluency and motivation. The survey also collected narrative comments on using animal assisted activities and animal assisted therapy in academic reading programs. The quantitative data show that the volunteers felt that staff members at the host locations were overwhelmingly supportive of their program. While the majority of the volunteers did not have a background in education or with prior tutoring experience, they specifically participated in the R.E.A.D. program to help children with literacy. The study also uncovered that the volunteers practiced many tutoring activities in the content of the reading program, and were able to identify these activities when provided with a listing of the activities using professional reading terminology. The majority of the participating volunteers were satisfied with the current level of training, and over half of them were also interested in receiving more explicit information on other literacy tutoring strategies. The conclusion of the study suggested that the value of this additional instruction to the volunteer R.E.A.D. facilitators would be realized in the form of improved knowledge regarding the use of reading skills and strategies within a tutoring session. But, it would be left up to the volunteer's discretion as to whether the skills and strategies are implemented during the reading session. The results of the study also indicated that this would only be effective if it were offered as optional supplemental knowledge to the present training material. Finally, they indicated a positive response to the questions about perceived gains in fluency and motivation of the participating children. However, due to the descriptive nature of the study, no causal inferences were drawn. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A