Currently, the curriculum is designed for children in second grade only. The program requires one hour of class time each week, in addition to evening “Bone-Work” (homework) assignments that the children complete at home with their families, their stuffed animals, and if possible, their family pets.
This program was conceptualized and designed by Dr. Lori Friesen who has a PhD in education, and whose research examines the child-animal bond and how dogs can positively impact children’s learning in the school and home environment. Dr. Friesen has ten years’ experience teaching elementary school, in addition to teaching pre-service teachers at the college and university level. All lessons in this program are therefore informed by research-supported teaching and learning theory, and have also been “kid-tested” to ensure that children enjoy the learning experiences throughout the program!
My school doesn’t allow dogs on school property. Can I still participate in this program with my students?
If your school does not allow dogs, YES, you can still participate in this program with your students! The children learn lessons by practicing with stuffed animals in the classroom, and are then invited to go home and practice the skills and strategies they learn with their parents and stuffed animals, and/or with any pets they have at home.
Allergies are not a concern with this program because dogs do not need to be present for children to learn the concepts. However, the skills and concepts they learn during the program will help them to feel more confident and safe around dogs outside of the classroom and at home. If allergies are not a concern in your classroom, a visit by a participating therapy dog from a local organization is helpful for children in your class to practice the skills they are learning in a safe and supervised environment.
This program offers teachers:
- Fun, effective, and creative strategies to help children improve in and enjoy reading.
- Valuable skills for how to help kids be safe around dogs and understand dogs’ unique needs.
- Engaging and creative methods to nurture confidence, compassion and empathy in children.
This program offers children:
- Unique and effective strategies to dramatically improve their reading skills.
- Innovative ways to positively transform children’s attitudes about reading.
- Powerful lessons to positively transform children’s’ relationships (both with dogs and with people) through increased empathy and self-esteem.
Yes. All of the lessons are easily transferable for use in the home-school context. This program is a wonderful way to involve your family pet while teaching language arts, while also helping children to learn appropriate and compassionate ways to interact with dogs.
How Dogs Help Kids Read and Succeed In the Classroom has a three-tiered focus: 1) To help children learn effective reading strategies and skills, 2) To capture children’s imaginations while learning and learn to associate reading with FUN, and 3) To teach children to behave in more compassionate and empathetic ways around dogs, therefore helping them to be safe around dogs.
There are 10 core lessons in How Dogs Help Kids Read and Succeed In the Classroom, each with related “Bone-Work” assignments that children do at home to reinforce the skills they learn at school. The 10 core lessons focus on teaching children, through the use of high-quality, engaging children’s literature, 7 essential reading and language arts skills and 7 important success principles. These lessons are designed to teach children to:
Reading/English Language Arts Skills:
- Develop word analysis skills in decoding words both in isolation and in text (phonics and word recognition).
- Describe key ideas and details from text read aloud and from other media (key ideas & details).
- Recount a story or experience using appropriate facts and details (comprehension and collaboration).
- Activate background knowledge related to information and events in a text (range of reading and level of complexity).
- Read with accuracy and fluency (fluency).
- Participate in collaborative conversations and follow agreed-upon rules for discussions, and give and follow three- and four-step oral directions (comprehension and collaboration).
- Plan and deliver a narrative presentation that recounts an experience and includes a logical sequence (presentation of knowledge and ideas).
- Develop empathy and compassion yourself, for others, and for animals
- Nurture self confidence
- Be responsible for your actions
- Take action towards your goals
- Ask for and respect feedback when learning
- Chart your successes
- Celebrate your accomplishments
For specific examples of fun and engaging key program components, please visit the “Program Highlights” page of our website.
Yes. All lessons in this program align with Common Core State Standards in Language Arts. The chart below outlines all of the Common Core Standards that are satisfied by this program. For more information about the Common Core Standards, please click here.
|✔||Standard Type||Language Arts Skill||Performance Description|
|Reading Standards for Literature||Key Ideas and Details||Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.|
|Reading Standards for Literature||Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity||By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, in the grades 2–3 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.|
|Reading Standards||Key Ideas and Details||Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.|
|Reading Standards: Foundational Skills||Phonics and Word Recognition||Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words both in isolation and in text.
|Reading Standard: Foundational Skills||Fluency||Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
|Writing Standards K-5||Text Types and Purposes||Write informative/explanatory texts in which they introduce a topic, use facts and definitions to develop points, and provide a concluding statement or section.|
|Speaking and Listening Standards||Comprehension and Collaboration||Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade-level topics with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
|Speaking and Listening Standards||Comprehension and Collaboration||Recount or describe key ideas or details from a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.a. Give and follow three- and four-step oral directions.|
|Speaking and Listening Standards||Comprehension and Collaboration||Ask and answer questions about what a speaker says in order to clarify comprehension, gather additional information, or deepen understanding of a topic or issue.|
|Speaking and Listening Standards||Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas||Tell a story or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking audibly in coherent sentences.
|Speaking and Listening Standards K-5||Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas||Add drawings or other visual displays to stories or recounts of experiences when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings.|
|Language Standards||Vocabulary Acquisition and Use||Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade-level reading and content, choosing flexibly from an array of strategies.