About Dr. Lori

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Dr. Friesen with Reading DogsDr. Lori Friesen completed her PhD in Education at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. She has served as Co-president of the Canadian Committee of Graduate Students in Education (CCGSE), Co-president of the Elementary Education Graduate Students’ Association (EE:GSA) at the University of Alberta, Chair of the Canadian Committee of Graduate Students in Education Mentorship Award  (CCGSE), and as Chair of Graduate Student Representatives for LLRC (Language and Literacy Researchers of Canada).

Dr. Lori’s passion is supporting children to become more confident and proficient readers while helping them to develop the tools for success in life through increased compassion and empathy for all life on our planet. She has served as a volunteer for the Pet Therapy Society of Northern Alberta and founded the Paws to Read with Tango animal-assisted literacy summer program at the Stanley A. Milner Public Library in Edmonton, Alberta. She was awarded the Government of Alberta Graduate Citizenship Award, the University of Alberta Graduate Student Community Service Award, and the Virginia Cummings Bursary for her dedication and service in her community.

In 2011, Dr. Lori was inducted into the Golden Key International Honour Society in recognition of her outstanding academic achievement and excellence. Her doctoral research, in which she explored how one class of grade 2 children experienced an animal-assisted literacy program, was awarded a SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada) Doctoral Fellowship, the Isaak Walton Killam Memorial Scholarship, the University of Alberta Doctoral Prize of Distinction, the Alberta Teachers’ Association Doctoral Fellowship, and the University of Alberta Ph.D. Recruitment Scholarship.

Dr. Lori’s research examining animal-assisted literacy has received media attention around the world. Her work in animal-assisted literacy has been published in various peer-reviewed journals, including Early Childhood Education (2009), Learning Landscapes (2009), Language & Literacy (2010), Childhood Education International (2010; 2012), and most recently in The International Journal of Learning (2012). Please see the research page of this site for a complete listing of Dr. Lori’s publications, research, presentations and professional experience. Dr. Lori’s M.Ed. work has been published as a book, The Beginning Teacher’s Handbook for Elementary School (2008).

Dr. Lori is currently writing a book titled How Your Dog Can Help Your Child Read, Lead, & Succeed to teach parents, volunteers, and educators step-by-step how they can help children to become stronger readers, develop stronger and more compassionate relationships with their friends and family, and develop the skills for success in life. With gentle guidance, children can make a real difference in our world for each other and for the animals who share our planet – while learning powerful lessons in meaningful, purposeful literacy.

Dr. Lori lives and and writes in San Diego, California, where she enjoys clichéd long walks on the beach, spending quality time with amazing friends and family, and volunteering as an SPCA/San Diego Humane Society Outreach Educator. She teaches inspirational seminars for kids, teens, and adults for the first-class Elementary Institute of Science in San Diego, including her innovative ten-week program, How Your Dog Can Help Your Child Read, Lead, & Succeed. Her side passion is writing a memoir about a backpacking trip to the Greek Islands with her senior parents – use your imagination, the reality was worse than that! The working title for this non-fiction memoir (because truly, family is funnier than fiction) is Larry and Jo-Jo Do Greece (more information will follow on this as it comes available)!

Lori is a regular supporter of several animal-related charities, including the ASPCA, the Humane Society Legislative Fund, and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. To donate to Dr. Lori’s new program, How Your Dog Can Help Your Child Read, Lead, & Succeed, please click here. Anything you are able to contribute will be greatly appreciated!


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