Millions of children in North America continue to struggle with reading. The growing popularity of animal-assisted literacy programs in schools and libraries across the globe bolsters an acknowledged tension between the literacy supports children are currently receiving in classrooms and the kinds of assistance they may need or want. Through the lens of Bakhtin’s carnival, this case study into one grade 2 classroom explored how students experience an animal-assisted literacy program, and examined what the significance of these experiences may be for children. Three key themes are discussed: (1) the participation of all children as an anticipated escape from regular classroom life, (2) animal-assisted literacy learning as playful, familiar experiences steeped in imagination, and (3) free and familiar contact as a facilitator of novel and familial modes of interrelationship in the classroom context. This research will assist researchers, policy makers, teachers, and parents to consider alternative, effective literacy experiences for elementary school children.
|Keywords:||Animal-assisted, Literacy Learning, School-based Mentorship, Bakhtin|
PhD Candidate, Department of Elementary Education, Language and Literacy, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada
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