ERIC Number: EJ1044105
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Reference Count: 15
Sit, Stay, Read: Improving Literacy Skills Using Dogs!
Pillow-Price, Kathy; Yonts, Nikki; Stinson, Laura
Dimensions of Early Childhood, v42 n1 p5-9 2014
While the idea of using a dog in the classroom at first seems unorthodox, the history of using animals in therapeutic settings is extensive. The first documented use of animals in a therapeutic setting was in a mental institution in England in 1792 (Levinson, 1969). In North America, dogs were first used in therapy in 1919 at St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Washington, D.C. (Brodie & Biley, 1999). Most of the emphasis has been on using animals in adult clinical or hospital settings. It was only later that therapy animals were used in these settings with young children. Anecdotal evidence such as that provided by author Laura Stinson and systematic research have shown mostly positive effects of having the dogs in the classroom (Burton, 1995; Limond, Bradshaw, & Cormack, 1997; Nebbe, 1991). One possible reason for this is the special relationships that often develop between children and dogs. Hart (2000) called the dogs "social lubricants," as they provided a "safe" environment for the children to open up to the teachers about their problems. These findings are promising, but more research needs to be done on the effectiveness of using therapy animals to help students learn new skills. The increase in specialized programs such as "SitStayRead" (a program that introduces dogs into the classroom to increase students' motivation to read) will help accomplish this goal. This article describes how "SitStayRead" and similar programs work, and Laura Stinson provides advice to those who might want to consider adding a dog to their classroom.
Descriptors: Animals, Therapy, Young Children, Preschool Children, Preschool Education, Reading Instruction, Reading Improvement
Southern Early Childhood Association. P.O. Box 55930, Little Rock, AR 72215. Tel: 800-305-7322; Fax: 501-227-5297; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.southernearlychildhood.org/publications.php
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Preschool Education; Early Childhood Education
Authoring Institution: N/A