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Classroom Strategies

Paired Reading


The Paired Reading strategy encourages peer teaching and learning. Students are divided into pairs and read along together or take turns reading aloud to each other. Pairs can have the same reading ability or can include a more fluent reader with a less fluent reader. Each student reads and provides feedback about their own and their partner’s reading behaviors. 


Paired Reading can be used with many types of reading materials including student produced stories, and poetry. This strategy frees up the teacher to observe paired reading sessions and work with different students while other students continue reading together. Reading with someone encourages students to try reading materials that may be just above their normal reading level. Paired Reading can also be used to build oral skills so that reluctant readers can work toward reading in front of a large group. 

Create and use the strategy

Begin by introducing students to the Paired Reading strategy. This includes:

  • establishing a routine for students to adopt so that they know the step-by-step requirements for engaging in paired reading (i.e. Will they read out loud, simultaneously? Will they take turns with each person reading a paragraph? a page? Or will one person read while the other person listens?) 
  • teaching students an error-correction procedure to use when supporting each other’s reading (i.e. re-reading misread words; signals for difficulty)
  • modeling the procedure to ensure that students understand how to use the strategy 
  • pairing students either by same reading ability or by high level readers with low level readers 
    NOTE: If pairing high level readers with low level readers, use the following steps before class:
    1. List the students in order from highest to lowest oral reading fluency score. 
    2. Divide the list in two. 
    3. Place the top student in the first list with the top student in the second list. 
    4. Continue until all students have been partnered.

Ask students to begin reading in pairs and adjust reading speed if reading simultaneously so they stay together. Students should offer feedback and praise frequently for correct reading. Monitor and support students as they work.
NOTE: You may wish to take notes about how each student is reading as a way to keep track of development and progress. 

Further reading