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Includes a references list This qualitative study explores children’s and adults’ experiences with a canine-assisted reading program for students in a Western Massachusetts elementary school. Although previous research has revealed many physiological, social, emotional, and academic benefits of canine-assisted therapy for children, few studies have thoroughly investigated children’s and adults’ perspectives on these programs. By conducting interviews with four elementary-aged children who were receiving canine-assisted reading services at their school and five adults who were involved in the process as either teachers or dog handlers, the present study aims to begin to fill the gap in the existing literature. A thematic analysis of these interviews reveals the various positive aspects that the child and adult participants reported about the canine-assisted reading program, including: helping to develop reading skills and confidence, fostering a sense of comfort and connection, and viewing the program as a special part of the school culture. By attending to individual children’s and adults’ reports of their experiences with the canine-assisted reading program, this study expands our current knowledge of the field and provides evidence for the beneficial effects of a canine-assisted reading program for children.
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