Enhance Early Literacy Skills with Paired Reading

Posted April 6, 2017 – AWE Learning Staff
Paired reading, or partner reading, is a research-based fluency strategy often used with readers who struggle with or lack fluency. For young learners, for example, a higher level reader pairs with a lower level reader, or two readers of the same level are paired together. Each individual takes turns reading aloud to their partner. If additional practice is needed, the young learner can re-read the text that their partners just read aloud.

Paired Reading builds collaboration, encourages cooperation, and supports peer-assisted learning. According to Adolescent Literacy, this strategy allows young learners to take turns reading and creates an additional opportunity to monitor comprehension and build literacy skills. The reader serves as the “Player,” while the listener takes on the role of the “Coach.” Though only one learner reads at a time, the Coach is required to stay attentive and follow along to correct any mistakes that are made. The Coach can also assist when the Player struggles on a difficult task.

This strategy allows young learners to practice their literacy skills and gives the educators the chance to observe students on a more personal level. Educators can then offer individual assistance as needed. If there is a common mistake among the readers, a mini lesson on that specific area can be created to correct the inaccuracy moving forward.

Research shows that reading to someone else encourages students to try to read material that may be above their individual reading level. Paired reading also builds oral skills that result in a higher comfort level with reading. While literacy skills develop through increased practice in reading, it is equally important for young learners to gain experience listening to others read.

In addition to skill development through both roles of player and coach, paired reading provides time for discussion about the text to improve comprehension. Questions on comprehension can focus on specific details or events or can be open-ended questions. Below are some sample questions that students can ask one another:

  • What was your passage about?
  • What was your favorite part?
  • Who is your favorite character?
  • What do you predict will happen next?
  • Who said…?
  • What happened first?

Paired reading is a strategy that is often used in the elementary school classroom to build literacy skills and collaborate with peers. It is also an option in environments such as libraries and after school programs. Since there are no specific genres needed for paired reading, wherever there are two peers, they can read to one another and discuss what they’ve learned. It provides a great opportunity for leadership, teamwork, and overall development of comprehension and literacy skills.

Enhance early literacy skills with paired reading

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