Exploring Second Language Reading Engagement Through a Canine-Assisted Reading Program




Swearingen, Amanda Jayne

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The use of therapy dogs in reading interventions for struggling or less engaged readers has been gaining popularity in the last twenty years, but has primarily focused on English L1, monolingual student participants. This mixed-methods study extends research on canine-assisted reading programs (CARPs) into second language education by exploring the impact of a CARP on the affective and behavioral reading engagement of a first grade English language learner (ELL). The ELL participated in filmed reading events over a ten week period, consisting of two baseline sessions, five CARP sessions, and one reversal session. The sessions were evaluated using Affective and Behavioral Reading Engagement Protocols and analyzed using descriptive statistics. The results of visual analyses of the graphed quantitative data indicated that the CARP had a stable and immediate facilitative impact on the student participant's affective and behavioral reading engagement. Qualitative data were collected through interviews with the ELL and his parent, field notes, artifacts, and analytical memos. Thematic analyses of these data revealed four main themes for affective reading engagement and two for behavioral reading engagement, while a separate theme concerning language and self-efficacy emerged. The results of this study offer a first look at how a CARP may prove beneficial in positively impacting the affective and behavioral reading engagement for a second language learner.


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Animal-assisted intervention, animal-assisted therapy/activities, canine-assisted reading, English language learner, Reading engagement, second language education



Bicultural-Bilingual Studies