The aim of this study was to determine whether there is an increase in the reading fluency and accuracy of three lower performing third-graders after participating in a canine-assisted read-aloud program, as well as an increase in the relaxation level during and after the program. This study employed a pre-test-post-test design to test the hypotheses that gains would be made in both reading fluency and reading accuracy upon completion of the program. The three grade 3 students were assessed by the Chinese Character Reading Test and the Reading Fluency Test. During the intervention, they read to a trained canine in the presence of a handler. Three days after the completion of the seven 20-min interventions, the participants were assessed by the two standardized reading tests a second time. Heart rate variability (HRV) responses to the pre-test, the intervention and the post-test were recorded. The three grade 3 students attained a higher level of relaxation while reading to the dog and increased their reading fluency after the reading sessions. These results provided preliminary evidence that the canine-assisted read-aloud program can increase the reading performance of children with lower performance. Implications for future research and reading programs will be discussed.
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