Graduation Date


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department or Program


Department or Program Chair

Madalienne F. Peters, EdD

First Reader

Madalienne F. Peters, EdD


This study is an examination of animal-assisted therapy in an attempt to explore the ways it may serve as reading intervention program for struggling readers. Due to the low rate of literacy in the U.S., children are often put into reading intervention programs where they are required to read to an adult; potentially creating anxiety that may act as a deterrent to reading regularly, and thus contributing to the condition of aliteracy, that is, possessing the basic skills to read yet having no desire to do so. The purpose of this qualitative study is to explore the ways in which remedial readers respond to the activity of reading aloud to a dog at the resource reading lab at a suburban, public, elementary school in Northern California. Through observations, interviews and surveys, the feelings, perceptions and beliefs of four students and their parents, and the two literacy assistants at the research site are determined. Appendixes include: non-participant observation conducted; semi-structured audio-taped interviews; and questionnaires given to participating families.