Think-pair-share (TPS) is a collaborative learning strategy where students work together to solve a problem or answer a question about an assigned reading. This strategy requires students to (1) think individually about a topic or answer to a question; and (2) share ideas with classmates. Discussing with a partner maximizes participation, focuses attention and engages students in comprehending the reading material.
|When to use:||Before reading||During reading||After reading|
|How to use:||Individually||With small groups||Whole class setting|
More comprehension strategies
Why use think-pair-share?
- It helps students to think individually about a topic or answer to a question.
- It teaches students to share ideas with classmates and builds oral communication skills.
- It helps focus attention and engage students in comprehending the reading material.
How to use think-pair-share
- Decide upon the text to be read and develop the set of questions or prompts that target key content concepts.
- Describe the purpose of the strategy and provide guidelines for discussions.
- Model the procedure to ensure that students understand how to use the strategy.
- Monitor and support students as they work through the following:
T : (Think) Teachers begin by asking a specific question about the text. Students "think" about what they know or have learned about the topic.
P : (Pair) Each student should be paired with another student or a small group.
S : (Share) Students share their thinking with their partner. Teachers expand the "share" into a whole-class discussion.
Visit Cathy Doyle's second grade classroom in Evanston, Illinois to observe her students learning the think-pair-share strategy. Cathy goes over the "rules" and then engages the kids around a classroom read-aloud, An Egg Is Quiet. Joanne Meier, our research director, introduces the strategy and talks about how the strategy can help build confidence with students who are often reluctant to talk in front of the whole class.
Learn how to use the think-pair-share strategy across content areas along with some suggestions for managing and modifying the activity.
For second language learners, students of varying reading skill, students with learning disabilities, and younger learners
- Be sensitive to learners' needs (reading skill, attentional skills, language skill) when creating pairs.
- Allow students to choose who will share with the whole group.
See the research that supports this strategy
Gunter, M. A., Estes, T. H., & Schwab, J. H. (1999). Instruction: A Models Approach, 3rd edition. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Lyman, F. (1981). "The responsive classroom discussion." In Anderson, A. S. (Ed.), Mainstreaming Digest. College Park, MD: University of Maryland College of Education.
Rasinkski, T., & Padak, N. (1996). Holistic reading strategies: Teaching children who find reading difficult. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Merrill/Prentice Hall.
Children's books to use with this strategy
Silent Music: A Story of Baghdad
Ali, a contemporary boy living in Bagdad enjoys soccer, "loud, parent-rattling music," and Arabic calligraphy. Ali finds solace in it during the noise of war much like 13th century calligrapher Yakut. Dynamic, evocative illustrations make this book memorable, sure to remind readers that children are similar world-over.