Effects of Reading with Adult Tutor/Therapy Dog Teams on Elementary Students’ Reading Achievement and Attitudes

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  • 1 Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA
  • 2 Erie First Christian Academy, Erie, PA
  • 3 Educational and School Psychology, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA
  • 4 Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA
  • 5 Therapy Dogs United, Erie, PA

This study assessed the effect of reading aloud to handler/therapy dog teams on children’s oral reading fluency using a post-test control group design with repeated measures. Forty-five children in grades 2-5 were assigned to one of two groups using a stratified random assignment designed to equate groups based on grade and sex. Both groups read aloud for 30 minutes per week for 5 weeks; Group One read with a handler/therapy dog and Group Two read to peers. After 5 weeks, the groups were reversed. Between-group and within-group differences were analyzed. Several statistically significant and large effect sizes were found. Findings generally suggested that reading aloud to an adult/therapy dog team tended to increase children’s scores on a test of oral reading fluency much more than reading aloud to peers. No significant effects were identified on a survey of general attitudes toward reading administered to the children.

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