While animal assisted therapy (AAT) has been a successful part of treatment plans within the medical field for several decades, AAT has not been quantitatively researched as a viable instructional tool that can be used in conjunction with other reading intervention strategies. With over one-third of elementary school aged children experiencing reading difficulties, new instructional strategies must be researched to address this educational deficiency. This pilot study aimed to determine the impact of AAT reading instruction on reading performance, within a sample of 26 homeschooled students in grade 3, so as to lay the foundation for broader studies in this critical area. An experimental pre-test/post test control group research design was utilized for this pilot study. The effect of AAT on reading performance was measured by the results collected from participant pre test and post test scores of the Gray Oral Reading Test 4th edition (GORT-4) in the areas of reading rate and overall reading quotient. Two-sample t-test statistical analysis of experimental and control group pre/post test scores from the GORT-4 in the areas of reading rate and overall reading quotient was completed. The two-tailed two-sample t-test score t(24) = 2.56, p=.017 confirmed that AAT oral reading instruction significantly impacted student reading rate. Due to the small size of this pilot study, the analysis lacked sufficient power, thus limiting these findings to this study. However, this research prepares the foundation for future larger studies that can explore the instructional and therapeutic effectiveness of AAT in addressing student reading ability, and student issues such as motivation, self-esteem, and emotional state.
|School Location:||United States -- Arizona|
|Source:||DAI-A 71/11, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Instructional Design, Educational psychology, Literacy, Reading instruction|
|Keywords:||Alternative instruction, Animal-assisted therapy, Homeschooling, Reading, Reading education assistance dog, Therapy dog|
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