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ERIC Number: EJ1165985
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018-Jan
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1082-3301
EISSN: N/A
The Impact of a Therapy Dog Program on Children's Reading: Follow-Up and Extension to ELL Students
Kirnan, Jean; Ventresco, Nina E.; Gardner, Thomas
Early Childhood Education Journal, v46 n1 p103-116 Jan 2018
An initiative in which therapy dogs were integrated into a school-wide reading curriculum was analyzed to determine the effect on student reading in the program's second year. Prior research on the first year of this specific program (Kirnan et al. in "Early Child Educ J" 44(6):637-651) demonstrated improvement in reading scores only for kindergarten students, while interview data revealed increases in positive attitudes and enthusiasm for reading across all grades. In the current study, a series of independent t-tests were conducted for each grade, comparing the second year of the program to a control group. There was a significant difference for kindergarten in the second year, as reading scores were higher for program students compared to those in the control group. Unlike the first year of the program, in the second year there was also a significant mean difference in first grade. For both grades, an analysis of covariance controlling for reading scores prior to program implementation still resulted in a significant main effect for the reading program. Combining the first 2 years of the program yielded a large enough sample for a comparison of ELL students with non-ELL students in kindergarten. These data showed significantly higher reading scores for students enrolled in the dog program relative to the control for both ELL and non-ELL students, again accounting for earlier reading scores. These findings demonstrate the need to analyze at-risk subgroups as well as the need to apply a longitudinal lens in researching both dog-assisted literacy programs and participant progress.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A