Evaluating Your Program

How will you know if your "Reading to Dogs" program was successful?  Are there any improvements that could be made?  Below are some tips for helping you to evaluate your program.

School Program

In a school setting, the best way to measure if the program was successful would be to use a reading fluency test pre-program and post-program to quantitatively see results.  For example, the Sit Stay Read program in Chicago uses the "Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS)" assessment to measure student progress.  They also compare the results to test scores of students who did not participate in the program.  Surveys are a wonderful qualitative measurement to determine if the program was enjoyed by students, teachers, and parents.

Public Library Program

Surveys for both parents and participants would be very helpful to understand if the children really liked the program and if parents noticed positive changes in their child's reading habits either at school or at home. 

Sample Survey Questions

Please tailor the sample survey questions below to fit your needs.

Questions for Parents:
  1. How did you find out about this program?
  2. Was the program held at a convenient time of day?
  3. Was the time spent reading to the dog sufficient?  
  4. Did your child enjoy coming to the program and why?
  5. If the program was offered again, would your child like to participate?
  6. In what ways did the program help your child with his/her reading?
  7. Has the program had an effect on your child's social skills or emotional well-being?  If so, please explain.
  8. How often would you like to see the program offered?
  9. What would you change about the program?

Questions for Teachers:
  1. What changes in student reading levels or reading fluency did you notice?
  2. How did you know if the students enjoyed the program or not?
  3. Did you see any positive changes in students' behavior, communication skills, social skills, or emotional well-being?
  4. How would you change the program?
  5. Was the program length sufficient?

Questions for Participants (Parents may need to assist younger children with these questions.):
  1. How did the program make you feel?  (Very young participants could draw a picture to show their feelings.)
  2. Why did you like reading to dogs?
  3. Would you like to attend this program again?
  4. Did you think the dogs were friendly and easy to read to?
  5. What would be one word you would use to describe the program?
  6. Did reading to the dogs make you want to read more?
  7. If you have a pet at home, do you think this program might make you want to read to your own pet?

Sources for More Information
The "Results" section on this website gives evaluative information from successful school programs.
This Chicago program uses the DIBELS reading assessment to measure student progress in Chicago Public elementary schools.
  • Smith, Corinne Serra. "An Analysis and Evaluation of Sit Stay Read: Is the Program Effective in Improving Student Engagement and Reading Outcomes?" (2009). Dissertations. Paper 32. 
Web. 27 Oct. 2010 <http://digitalcommons.nl.edu/diss/32>.
This dissertation of Ms. Smith's includes surveys and interview questions that were used in her study of the effectiveness of the Sit Stay Read program in Chicago.  For more information on this study, please see the "Research" page.