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Showing posts with label paired reading. Show all posts
Paired reading is one of the key techniques I used in my research study for enhancing fluency. It is based on an idea developed by Topping (see the Dundee University website, Topping 2001). Its use with adults is described by McShane (2003) and Burton (2007a and b). In my version, the tutor matches her speed and volume sensitively to that needed to support each learner and models good expression. Learners are never allowed to struggle with difficult words, as these are supplied automatically. As and when the learner gains confidence, the tutor allows her voice to fade out. You can read more about how to apply the technique and about the impact it had on some learners in my study if you click on the “read more” link below.
If you haven’t tried paired reading, why don’t you give it a go in the next couple of weeks with a learner and post your findings here? Thanks.
- The idea of this technique is to encourage fluency and confidence when reading.
- The idea is to stop the disruption to flow caused by a learner struggling to decode words or waiting to be corrected.
- This approach can bring back the pleasure in reading for pleasure.
- Choose a text that the learner is interested in reading (for pleasure or information).
- Although it is best if the text is at a level appropriate to the learner’s assessed needs, this method can be used to assist reading a harder text that the reader urgently needs to access.
- Make sure that you can both see the text comfortably, or have two copies.
- Start reading aloud together.
- Make sure you match your speed to what the learner can cope with so you don’t leave them behind or leave them frustrated.
- Model fluency and good expression.
- If the learner stumbles over a word, keep reading and encourage them to continue without pause. If they lose their place, wait for them to catch up.
- If you sense that the learner is reading confidently and accurately, fade your voice to a quieter volume, but be prepared to fade back in if they falter.
- Warn your learner that you may fade out altogether if they continue to read well.
- With a beginner reader, be prepared to pair read the same text several times so they also gain fluency from repetition and familiarity.
Nine out of 10 learners in my study used paired reading for one or more of the 6 intervention sessions. Four of them had strong reactions against it, saying it disrupted their concentration, or the tutor found it hard to get the right speed and volume to suit their learner. The remaining 5 learners rated paired reading highly (either good or excellent) and it had a marked impact. A learner I shall call Mike increased his reading accuracy by 6%, his speed by 11wpm and his comprehension by a huge 47%. The strategies his tutor used developed his vocabulary and used paired reading of high interest material. Mike’s confidence in reading improved considerably. A learner I shall call Dorothy improved on all of the measures of reading (speed, accuracy, comprehension and her standardised score on WRAT4 word recognition) following interventions that used a mixture of paired and shared reading (we both read to each other and simultaneously to make the most of magazine articles). Both Mike and Dorothy were assessed as reading at Entry level 1 of the English adult core curriculum standards. Paired reading enabled them to tackle texts harder but more interesting than those they might have coped with on their own.
Paired reading doesn’t work for everyone, and as a support tutor you need to be able to adjust your own reading style to suit what your learner needs. However, the evidence seems to show it is a useful tool for some, boosting confidence and having an effect on accuracy as well as comprehension. I will have more to say about reading speed in a later article.
BURTON, M. (2007a) Oral reading fluency for adults London, National Research and Development Centre for Adult Literacy and Numeracy
BURTON, M. (2007b) Reading: developing adult teaching and learning: practitioner guides London, National Research and Development Centre for Adult Literacy and Numeracy
MCSHANE, S. (2005) Applying research in reading instruction for adults. First steps for teachers Washington DC, National Institute for Literacy [online]
[accessed january 2017]
TOPPING, K (2001) Paired reading – how to do it: a guide for peer tutors [online]
[acccessed January 2017]Leave a comment or ask a question »
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