Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies (PALS) is a classwide peer tutoring program. Teachers carefully partner a student with a classmate. The pair works on various activities that address the academic needs of both students. Pairs change over time. PALS can be used across content areas.
PALS does not require special reading materials and consequently enables teachers to use the reading material of their choice. This offers teachers flexibility for incorporating PALS into various content areas. More recently, this technique has been implemented as a strategy for ELL students with LD.
The strategy provides direct opportunities for a teacher to circulate in the class, observe students, and offer individual remediation. PALS therefore allows for differentiated instruction via having partners work simultaneously on various teacher-directed activities.
Create and use the strategy
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. Each member of the teacher-assigned pair takes turns being Coach and Reader. These pairs are changed regularly, and over a period of time as students work on a variety of skills. Thus, all students have the opportunity to be “coaches” and “players.”
Teachers train students to use the PALS procedures. As the reader reads aloud, the coach listens and provides corrective feedback. The PALS technique is designed to be a 25 to 35 minute activity. It should be implemented 2-4 times a week for effectiveness. Award students points for good reading and coaching.
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.
Fuchs, L., Fuchs, D., & Kazdan, S. (1999). Effects of peer-assisted learning strategies on high school students with serious reading problems. Remedial and Special Education, 20(5), 309-318.
Saenz, L., Fuchs, L., & Fuchs, D. (2005) Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies for English Language Learners with Learning Disabilities. Exceptional Children, (71).
Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development. (n.d.). Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies. Retrieved 2008, January 21, from http://kc.vanderbilt.edu/pals/