Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Classroom canines stimulate children's love of literacy

Date:
October 1, 2010
Source:
University of Alberta
Summary:
One researcher's classroom assistants are very attentive, love to listen to children read and can keep their composure in a classroom full of energetic 2nd grade students. However, her assistants are more likely to lick the students' faces than give them a gold star. The researcher's work with her "literacy dogs," Tango and Sparky, in one city-area classroom yielded some highly positive successes for the children and her research.

University of Alberta researcher Lori Friesen's classroom assistants are very attentive, love to listen to children read and can keep their composure in a classroom full of energetic Grade 2 students. However, her assistants are more likely to lick the students' faces than give them a gold star.

Friesen's says her work with her "literacy dogs," Tango and Sparky, in one city-area classroom yielded some highly positive successes for the children and her research.

In Friesen's research, children signed up for weekly reading or writing sessions with her and one of the dogs. During that time, they would read student-selected, high-quality children's literature, or work on the student's writing.

Friesen said the small group work seemed to ease some children's trepidation when it came to reading aloud. Using picture cues or clues to provide context in the story, Friesen helped students learn new words or overcome challenges with other words -- lessons, she says, the students grasped and applied to try and help the dogs understand new words as well. She said that the students perceived her dogs as "little buddies," whose presence encouraged the students to read aloud.

However, Friesen, whose findings will be published in an upcoming edition of the journal Language & Literacy, is reticent to call her work "animal-assisted therapy," since she says the notion does not accurately reflect what she and her dogs do when working with the children.

Friesen notes that any classroom activities she and her dogs undertake have to align with curriculum outcomes. "This is a goal-oriented activity; we're not doing therapy with children," said Friesen. "Animal-assisted literacy learning is about how children experience literacy learning in a safe, supportive, effective, meaningful and exciting learning environment."

Further, quiet opportunities to cuddle with the dogs while working closely with their classmates and with a caring adult seemed to provide a special form of support for these children's classroom literacy learning.

Friesen notes that Grade 2 is a crucial time period for students developing the potential to become lifelong readers, or to turn away from reading. However, the dogs seemed to be an important catalyst in the children's motivation to display and engage in a committed habit of reading.

"One-third of the class began reading to or writing with their own dogs at home, and were choosing to read when otherwise they wouldn't," she explained. "Their parents reported that these children hadn't used to talk about school at home, but now when they got to the dinner table, the parents heard all about Tango's favourite books -- it was the first time they actually knew what their children were reading at school."

Friesen said the impact this work had on the children was remarkable. She also noted that the reaction from parents was positive in terms of how motivated children were to read with the dogs. In fact, one child's parents noted that he refused to go on a family vacation because it meant he was going to miss a turn. Many of the parents also noted that if their child was lacking motivation to go to school, if they were reminded that Tango and Sparky were going to be there, they'd be at the door in no time at all.

"The classroom teacher, as well as many of the parents, noticed positive changes in the children's reading behaviours and an increase in their confidence," she said. "The children were constantly learning and engaging with text in new ways. This is what literacy should be about for children."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Alberta. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Alberta. "Classroom canines stimulate children's love of literacy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 October 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101001105606.htm>.
University of Alberta. (2010, October 1). Classroom canines stimulate children's love of literacy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101001105606.htm
University of Alberta. "Classroom canines stimulate children's love of literacy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101001105606.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) NBC's "Today" conducted an experiment to see if changing the size of plates and utensils affects the amount individuals eat. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do We Get Nicer With Age?

Do We Get Nicer With Age?

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A recent report claims personality can change over time as we age, and usually that means becoming nicer and more emotionally stable. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How to Master Motherhood With the Best Work/Life Balance

How to Master Motherhood With the Best Work/Life Balance

TheStreet (Apr. 22, 2014) In the U.S., there are more than 11 million couples trying to conceive at any given time. From helping celebrity moms like Bethanny Frankel to ordinary soon-to-be-moms, TV personality and parenting expert, Rosie Pope, gives you the inside scoop on mastering motherhood. London-born entrepreneur Pope is the creative force behind Rosie Pope Maternity and MomPrep. She explains why being an entrepreneur offers the best life balance for her and tips for all types of moms. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sorry, Guys, Only Women Can Make Their Voices Sound Sexier

Sorry, Guys, Only Women Can Make Their Voices Sound Sexier

Newsy (Apr. 21, 2014) According to researchers at Albright College, women have the ability to make their voices sound sexier, but men don't. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins