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ERIC Number: EJ1114936
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Nov
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1082-3301
The Impact of a Therapy Dog Program on Children's Reading Skills and Attitudes toward Reading
Kirnan, Jean; Siminerio, Steven; Wong, Zachary
Early Childhood Education Journal, v44 n6 p637-651 Nov 2016
An existing school program in which therapy dogs are integrated into the reading curriculum was analyzed to determine the effect on student reading. Previous literature suggests an improvement in both reading skills and attitudes towards reading when students read in the presence of a therapy dog. Using a mixed method model, the researchers analyzed standardized reading test scores of 169 students in kindergarten through fourth grade and conducted interviews with educators and dog owners. A series of "t" tests conducted by grade indicated a significant difference, but only in kindergarten where the children in the dog reading group achieved higher end-of-year reading scores than a control cohort. A follow-up analysis of covariance controlling for mid-year reading scores confirmed that these differences were not related to preexisting reading levels. Interview results agreed with earlier studies noting improvements in reading and writing skills as well as attitude and enthusiasm for reading across all grade levels but with greatest gains for Special Education, ESL, and children who struggle with reading. Archival data from subsequent years is being collected and will seek to replicate the findings in kindergarten and to examine the cumulative effect of the reading program.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Early Childhood Education; Kindergarten; Primary Education; Grade 1; Elementary Education; Grade 2; Grade 3; Grade 4; Intermediate Grades
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A