The Impact of Reading to a Therapy Dog in a Special Education Classroom

Date of Award

Spring 5-2020

Document Type

Project (696 or 796 registration)

Degree Name

Master of Science in Curriculum & Instruction


Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Ximena Suarez-Sousa


COVID-19, reading, special education, therapy dogs.



The purpose of this study was to examine if a therapy dog can help increase the reading accuracy of a struggling reader and help ease anxiety. Once a week, our school therapy dog came to my classroom while special education reading resource groups were occurring, and the therapy dog would listen to students read. The selected students read a passage at their reading level to our school therapy dog. They then read another passage at their reading level to the special education teacher (myself). Each week, they rotated who they read to first. Reading accuracy between the two passages was compared, analyzed, and documented to determine if reading to a therapy dog really increases reading accuracy and decreases anxiety. About two weeks into my research, the governor of our state declared a stay at home order due to COVID-19. Therefore, a distance learning model was implemented to provide educational services to students while at home. I found many positives, negatives, and realizations while implementing a distance learning model to elementary students in special education.

Key words: COVID-19, reading, special education, therapy dogs.

Abstract only: No full text available.