Partner Reading, as described in this Collection, meets all the requirements of a Cooperative Structure. It’s super simple, gets your students engaged with print, and sidesteps all the negatives associated with reading out loud in class. Because each student is only being “listened to” by one other student, it is a very “low risk” activity. Even students who are on the verge of giving up on reading are provided with scaffolding, and hope.
This is on Teachers Pay Teachers, but it’s a great idea: “question cards” to keep students focused during Partner Reading. It would be easy to make these up yourself, which would also make the cards tailored to your grade level(s), subject(s), and style—or use the questions from the bookmark in this Collection.
One side of this awesome downloadable bookmark has the directions for working with a partner in Partner Reading, and the other side has sample questions to ask at each stopping point, before switching roles. (If this link doesn’t work, the bookmark can be accessed through the link at the bottom of this page: http://www.lauracandler.com/strategies/balancedlit.php)
The Peer-Assisted Learning Strategy (PALS) program for intensive reading intervention uses a variation of Partner Reading in which stronger readers are intentionally paired with weaker readers. The stronger reader reads first and then the weaker reader re-reads the same section. For the regular classroom, the re-reading is a somewhat tedious routine.
Paired reading can be noisy, but it’s amazing how each pair of students can tune the others out. In the early grades, when reading picture books, each child usually reads one page, as in this video. In the upper grades, when text becomes more dense, each child reads a few paragraphs, and then the listener summarizes what was just read before they switch roles. At all levels, when partners finish reading, they have an activity to complete together.
Several variations of Partner Reading are described in this resource, including intentionally pairing weaker readers with stronger readers. There are obvious benefits to this, but there are also benefits to occasionally letting children choose their own partners, and to having them work with different partners each time. It’s a good idea, even in the upper grades, to have the child who is reading follow the words with a finger, so that the child who is listening can more easily follow along.