Hello everyone! I’m an English major working on a highly ambitious senior Honors project: I want to establish an animal-assisted literacy program in an elementary school in the county surrounding my university. The county is impoverished and has low literacy rates, and I’m beginning this program in the hopes that it will continue after I graduate.
I am looking for resources about animal-assisted programs and their affects, most notably scholarly journal article or books. I need to draft a literature review by the end of the summer, and though I am slogging through each resource available to my university. I will continue to search, but I also thought I would reach out to the tumblr scholar community for assistance/additional scholarly resources/whatever y’all can give me.
What is an animal-assisted literacy program?
An animal-assisted literacy program is a program where trained animal-handler teams conduct reading sessions with students. The animals are overwhelmingly dogs, and the students are usually elementary school children, though there may be exceptions in both cases. The student reads to the dog and the handler supervises the interactions between the dog and the student.
How do animal-assisted literacy programs help students?
The dog provides the student with an attentive audience for practicing reading skills and pronunciation. Unlike a teacher or parent, a dog will never rush the student through reading, become impatient with the student, or attempt to correct a student’s mistakes prematurely. Instead, the dog’s presence will act as encouragement for the student to work through difficult words or passages alone.
The handler supervises interactions to make sure that the dog and the student both remain happy and unharmed during the session. The handler also acts as a interpreter for the dog to the student, explaining what certain body language or reactions may mean. Often the handler acts as a bridge between the dog and the student but will remain in the background for the majority of the session.
What kind of information do I need?
I’m really passionate about this project and am very eager to get my hands on any and all information I can find about animal-assisted literacy. That being said, there are some specific things that I’m looking for:
- Statistics about improvement or quantifiable “success” of individual programs (even if program are discontinued or no longer in operation)
- Anecdotes from students or teachers about their experience with an animal-assisted literacy program, good or bad (names will be removed from the official report, but if the anecdotes are from you, I would only need your name for attribution and my personal records on the project)
- Scholarly articles or books written about animal-assisted literacy and its impact on students, teachers, and overall school/school system
I’ll be gathering this information for a long time (all summer, then for months afterward), so if you have any information or good sources for me, please always message me. I’ll give you my email address in the message if you have Word documents or PDF files to send.
I would really appreciate that you signal boost this if you don’t have information for me. I really want to get this program established in the county surrounding my university, but I can’t even begin to start the program without good facts and statistics to rely upon in my literature review.
Thank you, and have a great day!