The purpose of this study was to examine if the presence of a therapy dog influences the reading skills of first-grade students. Specifically, the researcher assessed the participants’ reading rate, accuracy, fluency, and comprehension across two conditions (reading with a dog present and reading without a dog). The Elementary Reading Attitude Survey (ERAS; McKenna & Kear, 1990) was used to measure the children’s perception of recreational and academic reading. The participants read two equivalent grade-level passages from the standardized Gray Oral Reading Test 5th-edition (GORT-5; Bryant & Wiederholt, 2012) with and without a dog present. The researcher assessed the children’s rate, fluency, accuracy, and reading comprehension skills across the two conditions as they read the passages. At the end of the study the students were asked whether they preferred reading in the presence or absence of the dog. There was no significance found across the conditions of this study. Although this study revealed that overall, the children preferred reading in the presence of the dog, additional longitudinal research is needed to gather data on the long term influence(s) of Animal-Assisted Therapy on children’s reading skills.


Furey, Joan


Communication Studies


Disability and Equity in Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Other Arts and Humanities | Other Education


reading skills, animal-assisted therapy, therapy dog, first-grade

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2014 Chelsea Addison