Partner Reading is a cooperative learning strategy in which two students work together to read an assigned text. This strategy is often used as part of the Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies (PALS). PALS is a classwide peer tutoring program in which teachers carefully partner a student with a classmate. The Partner Reading strategy allows students to take turns reading and provide each other with feedback as a way to monitor comprehension.
|When to use:||Before reading||During reading||After reading|
|How to use:||Individually||With small groups||Whole class setting|
More comprehension strategies
Why use partner reading?
- It allows students to take turns reading and provide each other with feedback as a way to monitor comprehension.
- It provides a model of fluent reading and helps students learn decoding skills by offering positive feedback.
- It provides direct opportunities for a teacher to circulate in the class, observe students, and offer individual remediation.
How to use partner reading
- Choose the assigned reading and introduce the text to the students.
- Create pairs within the classroom by identifying which children require help on specific skills and who the most appropriate children are to help other children learn those skills.
- Model the procedure to ensure that students understand how to use the strategy.
- Have each member of the teacher-assigned pair take turns being "Coach" and "Player." These pairs are changed regularly, and over a period of time as students work. Thus, all students have the opportunity to be "coaches" and "players."
Note: It is important for teachers to monitor and support students as they work together.
- Ask the stronger reader to begin this activity as the "Player" and read orally for 5 minutes. Have the "Coach" follow along and correct any mistakes when necessary.
- Have the pair switch roles and ask the weaker reader to become the "Player." The "Player" rereads the same passage for the next 5 minutes and the "Coach" provides corrective feedback. One point is earned for each correct sentence read (optional).
Watch: PAL Reading
PAL or "pair" reading (a method based on Lynn and Douglas Fuchs' Peer Assisted Learning Strategies) helps promote speed, accuracy, and proper expression in reading as well as practice comprehension skills to improve students' understanding of what they read. See the lesson plan.
This video is published with permission from the Balanced Literacy Diet. See many more related how-to videos with lesson plans in the Reading Fluency and Expression section as well as the Reading Comprehension Strategies section.
This comprehensive teacher's guide to partner reading includes examples of using the strategy in the study of the American Revolution (see page 9 of the guide)
For Second Language Learners, students of varying reading skill, and for younger learners
Teachers may wish to include the following additional activities for varying skill levels:
- Story retelling: students work together to retell the story by cooperatively providing input and correcting mistakes
- Summarization: students support each other in developing a summary of the passage in 10 words or less
- Writing: students write down the summary they developed and/or responses to the following:
- the who or what of the paragraph;
- the most important thing about who or what; and
- the main idea
- Teachers can use this activity to pair an ELL with a non-ELL student to support language development (see the following resource for more information: Reading Comprehension Strategies for English Language Learners.
- Teachers may wish to use cross age/grade partners for this activity.
See the research that supports this strategy
Armbruster, B., Lehr, F., & Osborn, J. (2001). Put Reading First: The Research Building Blocks for Teaching Children to Read. Center for the Improvement of Early Reading Achievement. National Institute for Literacy. http://www.nifl.gov/partnershipforreading/publications/reading_first1fluency.html.
Fuchs, D., Fuchs, L., & Burish, P. (2000). Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies: An Evidence-Based Practice to Promote Reading Achievement. Learning Disabilities Research and Practice, 15(2), 85-91.
Saenz, L., Fuchs, L., & Fuchs, D. (2005) Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies for English Language Learners with Learning Disabilities. Exceptional Children, (71).
Texas Education Agency. (2002). Fluency: Instructional Guidelines and Student Activities.
Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development. (n.d.). Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies. Retrieved 2008, January 21, from http://kc.vanderbilt.edu/pals/.
Children's books to use with this strategy
Grapes of Math
Two boys meet and develop a friendship. Readers will gain meaning and be able to read expressively from the animated presentation (in typeface and color as well as placement) of simple words which are ideal to read aloud in tandem. (Children can describe not only plot but attributes - characteristics and characterization - of the 2 boys. A discussion of language and how we greet our friends as well could take this into a social skills direction.)
Two boys meet and develop a friendship. Readers will gain meaning and be able to read expressively from the animated presentation (in typeface and color as well as placement) of simple words which are ideal to read aloud in tandem. (Children can describe not only plot but attributes — characteristics and characterization — of the 2 boys. A discussion of language and how we greet our friends as well could take this into a social skills direction.)
Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices
These poems introduce various insects and their lives; ideal for sharing aloud and for relating to informational books on insects.
The Doorbell Rang
When their mother bakes a dozen cookies, Sam and Victoria plan to have six each. Then the doorbell rings — again and again! Just when it seems that there aren't enough cookies, grandma saves the day!
Tell Me a Story, Mama
As a child gets ready for bed, she implores, "Tell me a story, Mama," then proceeds to tell it herself. Mama adds only to punctuate the girl’s story with maternal wisdom. This warm story, told in two voices, reflects how children make family stories their own.
You Read to Me, I'll Read to You: Very Short Stories to Read Together
Rhyming tales written for two voices makes an ideal — and humorous — introduction to readers' theater. Well known fairy tales have been adapted, reorganized and reinvigorated with lively language and sprightly illustrations, worthy of many dramatizations.