Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Academic Discipline



Sit Stay Read is a unique literacy intervention program that uses dogs in the classroom to improve student reading and writing outcomes in select, disadvantaged Chicago Public Schools. The goal of this research study was to analyze and evaluate the effectiveness of the Sit Stay Read program in improving student engagement and reading outcomes.

As evaluated during the 2008/2009 school year, through mixed methods research, the Sit Stay Read program was effective in improving second grade students’ oral reading fluency scores with students in the program group (N=152) gaining 8 words per minute more on average, but up to 14 words per minute more in some cases, than students in a comparison group (N=98). This represents a 20 percent improvement in the program group over the comparison group in oral reading fluency gain. No significant gender differences were noted, though girls responded somewhat more favorably to the program than did boys. No significant difference was noted in attendance rates between the two groups, though attendance data were limited.

Qualitative analysis of interview data with teachers, students, and the program’s executive director suggests that all groups have very favorable perceptions of the program and that Sit Stay Read supports the three key components of the construct of engaged learning with the program positively impacting students’ competence level in reading and writing, supporting the development of a community of learners, and exposing children to authentic work that is meaningful to them.