Impact of Animal Assisted Therapy Reading Performance on Homeschooled Children

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This article focuses on the impact of reading performance with animal assisted therapy

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<ul><li><p>A 2009 The eleaming Institute. All rights reserved. Page 2 of 34</p><p>Journal of Elementary and Secondary Education 2010 . October. Volume: 1 , Issue: #age 2</p><p>Impact of Animal AssistedTherapy Reading Instructionon Reading Performance of</p><p>Ilomeschooled StudentsDr. Kelly A. Smith</p><p>Semrnole State College</p><p>ABSTRACTThis pilot study aimed to determine the impact of AAT reading instructionon reading performance, within a sample of 26 homeschooled students ingrade 3. An experimental pre/post test control group research design wasutilizedfor this pilot study. The ffict of AAT on reading performance wasdetermined bqsed on the results of two+ailed two-sample t-teststatistical analysis of participant pre/post test scores of the Gray OralReading Test 4th edition (GORT-Q in the areas of reading rate and overallreading quotienL The two-tailed two-sample t-test score t(24) : 2.56,p:.017 confirmed that AAT orql reading instruction significantly impactedstudent reading rqte. Due to the small size of this pilot study, the analysislacked sfficient power, limitingfindings to this study. However, this</p><p>http://scholar.googleusercontent.com/scholar?q:cache:TaW_TXtiVTgJ:scholar.google.co... 9l19l20l1</p></li><li><p>@ 2009 The eleaming Institute. All rights reserved.</p><p>research prepares the foundation for future larger studies that canexplore the instructional ffictiveness of AAT.</p><p>Page 3 of34</p><p>Journal of Elementary and Secondary Education 2010. October. Volume: I . Issue: Hage 3</p><p>Reading challenges can have a lasting impact on students, with most who</p><p>experience reading difficulties in elementary school continuing to have reading problems</p><p>into adulthood (Felton &amp; Pepper, 1995; Maughan et al., 2009). Reading challenges affect</p><p>a large portion of the elementary school population with 30 to 40 percent of all school</p><p>children facing significant difficulty leaming to read (National Assessment of</p><p>Educational Progress [NAEP], 2003). In addition, the reliance of public schools on the</p><p>use of traditional curriculum and structured one-size-fits-all instruction (Bruni, 2004;</p><p>Owens &amp; Valesky, 2007) often leads to lack of motivation and lack of skill development</p><p>(Barkley, 2007 ; Ehren, 2009).</p><p>However, with the application of altemative reading intervention strategies, the</p><p>reading skills of struggling readers increased by 90% (Montgomery &amp; Moore-Brown,</p><p>2003). Altemative reading instruction methods should be examined and tested to address</p><p>the continued deficiencies within the teaching of reading so that student comprehension</p><p>http://scholar.googleusercontent.com/scholar?q:cache:TaW_TXtiVTgJ:scholar.google.co. .. 9ll9l20Il</p></li><li><p>@ 2009 The eleaming Institute. All rights reserved. Page 4 of34</p><p>improves. Savage, Carless, and Erten (2009) examined the effectiveness of alternative</p><p>reading intervention methods for reading instruction and found that two out of three</p><p>participants improved in the area of reading comprehension. The use of animal assisted</p><p>therapy (AAT) as an alternative reading instruction method may also be a viable option</p><p>for addressing reading deficiencies. Researchers could explore the effectiveness of</p><p>altemative reading instruction methods such as AAT reading instruction in improving</p><p>reading skills in homeschooled children.</p><p>The educational setting of homeschooling is an educational model that is an</p><p>alternative to the more highly structured nature of traditional public education, and is one</p><p>that embraces self-directed and inquisitive instruction such as AAT (Wasley, 2007).</p><p>Journal of Elementary and Secondary Education 2010. October. Volume: I . Issue: Hage +</p><p>Homeschooling, by being adaptable, allows for individualization of the learning</p><p>experience, instruction and assessment materials that best meets the leaming needs of the</p><p>child (Ray, 2009). AAT is an alternative instructional method for reading that</p><p>accommodates not only the leaming style of each child but allows for instruction and</p><p>presentation of information to be adapted to best fit the individual learning style (Bannier,</p><p>2007). Recent research findings support the hypothesis that the inclusion of animals</p><p>within the educational process does benefit learners (Beck, 2000; Miller &amp; Lago, 1990).</p><p>AAT fits well within the more flexible educational constructs of homeschooling and the</p><p>impact of an AAT reading program on reading progress can be explored through a</p><p>quantitative research design.</p><p>http://scholar.googleusercontent.com/scholar?q=cache:TaW-TXtiVTgJ:scholar.google.co... 9l19l20Il</p></li><li><p>@ 2009 The elearning Institute. All rights reserved.</p><p>Purpose of the Study</p><p>The purpose of this quantitative experimental pre/post test pilot study was to</p><p>determine if homeschooled children in Grade 3 who received weekly AAT reading</p><p>instruction had improved reading performance as measured by pre/post test results of the</p><p>Gray Oral Reading Test 4 m edition (GORT-4) in the areas of reading rate and overallreading quotient (ORQ), when compared to the pre/post test results of the GORT-4 in the</p><p>areas of reading rate and ORQ of a control group, members of which will not receive</p><p>AAT reading instruction and will read independently while the experimental group</p><p>receives AAT instruction. In this study, the independent variable was the AAT reading</p><p>instruction. AAT reading instruction provided within this design was once weekly one-</p><p>on-one therapeutic reading instruction sessions between study participant and certified</p><p>therapy assistance dog and dog handler. Each session allowed for monitored reading of</p><p>grade level selected books by the study participant to the dog, as a part of an AAT</p><p>Journal of Elementary and Secondary Education</p><p>Page 5 of34</p><p>2010. October. Volume: 7 . Issue: Fage 5</p><p>reading instruction regiment that focused on improving reading performance. The</p><p>dependent variable was reading performance as measured by pre/post difference scores</p><p>from the GORT-4 of both the experimental and control groups in the areas of reading rate</p><p>and ORQ. The control variable was grade level, with all participants being members of</p><p>the third grade. Confounding variables included testing and maturation. Testing as a</p><p>confounding variable may exist if participants were affected by taking the pretest as</p><p>reouired bv the research desisn. Maturation as a confoundins variable mav be in</p><p>http://scholar.googleusercontent.com/scholar?q:cache:TaW_TXtiVTgJ:scholar.google.co... 9lI9l20II</p></li><li><p>@ 2009 The eleaming Institute. All rights reserved. Page 6 of 34</p><p>operation given that children naturally change physically and mentally so quickly, thus it</p><p>may difficult to know whether the change observed from pre/post test results were due to</p><p>the treatment of AAT reading instruction sessions or were due to maturation.</p><p>This study included homeschooled children in Grade 3 from the Volusia Counfy,</p><p>Florida area. The sample consisted of 26 participants, l3 within the experimental group</p><p>and l3 within the control group. Issues related to sample size are discussed further in the</p><p>participant section, in the evaluation of findings section, and in the limitations section of</p><p>this manuscript. Members of both the experimental sample and control sample met at the</p><p>local public library for either AAT reading instruction or independent reading sessions at</p><p>the same time once a week for 6 weeks, The research aimed to determine the exact effect</p><p>of oral reading AAT on homeschooled children's reading progress through several</p><p>research questions.</p><p>Conceptual Framework</p><p>The top-down model is an interactive model that relies on cues and reader input to</p><p>construct meaning. The whole language approach of reading instruction is categorized</p><p>within the top-down model as an instructional model that relies on methods such as</p><p>Journal of Elementary and Secondary Education 2010 . October. Volume: I . Issue: fage 6</p><p>shared reading experiences. Shared reading experiences allow for student and teacher to</p><p>partner in the process of guided reading for fluency and comprehension (Coyne et al.,</p><p>2004; Holdaway, 1980). The aim of shared reading experiences within the whole</p><p>lanorraoc qnnrnanh is fn allnrrr rcar{erc fn cwncrienne c nnn-fhreafenino leamino</p><p>http://scholar.googleusercontent.com/scholar?q:cache:TaW_TXtiVTgJ:scholar.google.co... 9ll9l201l</p></li><li><p>@ 2009 The eleaming Institute. All rights reserved.</p><p>environment in which they can learn to read through experience. This can be done</p><p>without fear or shame and with encouragement and guidance from a teacher. AAT</p><p>reading instruction is an example of a whole language approach to reading that utilizes</p><p>the aspect ofshared reading.</p><p>Within the assisted reading theory (Pikulski &amp; Chard, 2005), reading rate is an</p><p>essential component of comprehension and fluent reading. When this theory is applied to</p><p>reading instruction, students would complete oral reading sessions in which minimal</p><p>correction and positive feedback on missed words is provided. The goal of reading</p><p>instruction that follows the assisted reading theory is to improve the reading rate and</p><p>accuracy ofstudents through reading instruction session in order to develop enhanced</p><p>fluency. When applied, students who engaged in assisted reading made significant gains</p><p>in reading rate and fluency (Heibert &amp; Fisher, 2002). Such findings illustrate the</p><p>practical value of utilizing assisted reading theory as a framework for research that aims</p><p>to address reading rate and fluency through reading intervention sessions.</p><p>In this study, the assisted reading theory was a guiding construct for the AAT</p><p>reading instruction reading sessions provided to members of the experimental group.</p><p>One of the aims of the AAT reading session provided within this study was to address the</p><p>performance measure of reading rate and fluency, with the intent of improving reading</p><p>rate in students. Given that reading comprehension is reliant on reading rate and fluency,</p><p>PageT of34</p><p>Journal of Elenvntary and Secondary Education 2010. October Volume: 1 . Issue: Hage I</p><p>.l-^^^ ^,-^-- :-------^--^ ..-^):.-^ ^^.-^.---^l-^--^:^-^:--^--,-^--^^ ^^,--^11 /o-.----^l- anna\ O--^l-</p><p>http://scholar.googleusercontent.com/scholar?q:cache:TaW_TXtiVTgJ:scholar.google.co... 9lI9l20l1</p></li><li><p>@ 2009 The elearning Institute. All rights reserved. Page9 of34</p><p>Journal of Elementary and Seco ndary Education 2010 . October. Volumc: I . Issue: fage g</p><p>Q1: What impact does weekly 30-minute AAT reading instruction sessions have</p><p>on the reading performance of the experimental group as measured by the pre/post test</p><p>reading rate results of the GORT-4 versus the reading performance of the control group,</p><p>whose members read independently during the experimental groups AAT instruction</p><p>session, as measured by the pre/post test reading rate results of the GORT-4?</p><p>Q2: What impact does weekly 30-minute AAT reading instruction sessions have</p><p>on the reading performance of the experimental group as measured by the pre/post test</p><p>Overall Reading Quotient (ORQ) results of the GORT-4 versus the reading performance</p><p>of the control group, whose members read independently during the experimental groups</p><p>AAT instruction session, as measured by the pre/post test ORQ results of the GORT-4?</p><p>Hypotheses</p><p>Hl: The reading performance as measured by reading rate of the experimental</p><p>group receiving AAT reading instruction will be statistically equivalent as the reading</p><p>rate of third grade homeschooled students not receiving AAT reading instruction.</p><p>Hla: The reading performance as measured by reading rate ofthe experimental</p><p>group receiving AAT reading instruction will be statistically significantly different than</p><p>the reading performance of third grade homeschooled students not receiving AAT</p><p>reading instruction.</p><p>H2: The reading performance as measured by ORQ of the experimental group</p><p>receiving AAT reading instruction will be statistically equivalent as the ORQ of third</p><p>grade homeschooled students not receiving AAT reading instruction.</p><p>H2a: The reading performance as measured by ORQ of experimental group</p><p>receiving AAT reading instruction will be statistically significantly different than the</p><p>http://scholar.googleusercontent.com/scholar?q:cache:TaW_TXtiVTgJ:scholar.google.co... 9l19l20Il</p></li><li><p>@ 2009 The elearning Institute. All rights reserved. Page 8 of34</p><p>aS IIICSC aIaS IIIIpIUVCT I-EaUlIlg CUIIIpIgIreIlslOII lIIrpIUVgs aS Wgll (DaIIlUsrS, z1vz). Jucl</p><p>improvements create a larger impact on reading performance in the area of reading</p><p>comprehension.</p><p>The independent reading experience ofthe control group was modeled on the</p><p>wide independent reading theory (cunningham &amp; stanovich,lggg; Ehri, 2005; Kuhn &amp;</p><p>Stahl, 2000). The basic tenant ofthis theory is that a strong correlation between</p><p>independent reading and reading achievement exists. Within this construct, increases in</p><p>reading faculties such as vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension are directly related to</p><p>the amount of reading done (Adams, 1990; cunningham &amp; Stanovich, l99g; Ehri, 2005;).Within this researcher's completed study, the reading experience of the control group was</p><p>based upon the theoretical construct that reading in any form might increase reading</p><p>skills.</p><p>Research into reading fluency performance should not be limited to the</p><p>assessment oforal reading rate and oral reading accuracy based upon the assisted and</p><p>independent reading fluency theories. The assessment ofreading fluency should also</p><p>include the measurement of reading comprehension (pikulski &amp; Chard, 200s). For thisreason, reading theory related to reading comprehension was also utilized as a guiding</p><p>theoretical construct for the completed research and its statistical evaluation ofthe overall</p><p>reading quotient, which is a combination of fluency and comprehension scores. Guided</p><p>fluency instruction theory provided is the additional theoretical building block upon</p><p>which the second research question ofreading comprehension though overall reading</p><p>quotient was addressed.</p><p>Research Questions</p><p>http://scholar.googleusercontent.com/scholar?q:cache:TaW_TXtiVTgJ:scholar.google.co... gllgl20ll</p></li><li><p>O 2009 The elearning Institute. All rights reserved.</p><p>Journal of Elementary and Secondary Education</p><p>Page 10 of34</p><p>2010. October. Volume: 1 . Issue: fage 9</p><p>reading performance of third grade homeschooled students not receiving AAT reading</p><p>instruction.</p><p>Nature of the Study</p><p>The pilot study utilized an experimental pre/post test control group research</p><p>design to determine the effectiveness of AAT reading instruction on improving the</p><p>reading performance of third grade homeschooled students. The independent variable of</p><p>AAT reading instruction was used as the intervention method that will impact the</p><p>dependent variable of reading performance, which was measured by difference scores</p><p>from the pre/post test results in the area ofreading rate and overall reading quotient. The</p><p>assessment tool that was utilized to determine reading performance was the Gray Oral</p><p>Reading Test 4 m edition (GORT-4). Statistical comparisons were based on pre and</p><p>posttest results ofboth the experimental and control groups in the areas ofreading rate</p><p>and overall reading quotient (ORQ).</p><p>Literature Review</p><p>The field of AAT is a new and complex area that m...</p></li></ul>