The purpose of this qualitative study was to investigate how the interactions that take place between therapy dogs and children during literacy activities change children's attitudes towards reading in one urban charter school. The research drew on both the sociocultural approach to literacy theory and symbolic interactionism to gain insights about how therapy dogs can shape children's literacy practices, specifically reading. Data collection included a series of semi-structured interviews and participant observation. Data analysis and interpretive procedures followed a grounded theory approach aimed at understanding how participants make sense of the therapy dogs' influence on children's literacy practices. Findings supported the extant literature that acknowledges a correlation between therapy dogs and reading development. However, from this study we learn the interactions between therapy dogs and children during literacy activities promotes more than literacy learning; therapy dogs also provide children with emotional support, facilitate positive social interactions, and shape student behavior. Research implications reinforce the need for more innovative approaches to literacy education, specifically a need for programs that acknowledge being literate is more than having the ability to read and write.
Mason N McLary
|Publisher||University of Rochester|
|Location of Publication||Rochester, New York|
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