Graduation Year

2010

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Special Education

Major Professor

Ann Cranston-Gingras, Ph.D.

Keywords

Informal reading inventory, Running record, Single case design

Abstract

This study explored the use of animal-assisted therapy with students identified with a learning disability and limited reading success. Initially, reading progress was defined as the participants' comprehension rate obtained from an oral Informal Reading Inventory (IRI) passage. The nature of the Informal Reading Inventory requires the introduction of more difficult reading passages as the student's comprehension rate increases, potentially masking the overall effect of the intervention. Due to this factor and erratic student performance, which is a common characteristic of students with learning disabilities, obtaining consistent comprehension rates was difficult. Therefore, progress was defined only as total amount of time the student was engaged in reading under each condition. A reversal replication, single case design was implemented to determine the effects of reading to the therapy dog on the students' reading progress as measured by total amount of time read. The analysis indicated a statistically significant increase in the total amount of reading time as determined by the participants in the presence of the therapy dog. Positive student feedback about their experience reading with the therapy dog supported the effect of the intervention on reading progress.

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