What types of activities can Mrs. Nash use to increase her students’ reading skills?

Page 4: Partner Reading with Retell

Two students readingThe first activity in each PALS session is Partner Reading, sometimes referred to as Partner Reading with Retell. Mrs. Nash feels that this activity will benefit her students. Partner Reading has been shown to improve reading accuracy and fluency, and story retelling has been demonstrated to enhance reading comprehension. The activity consists of three main steps, which are outlined in the box below.

Partner Reading with Retell
(11–12 minutes)

Step 1. The higher-performing student reads first for five minutes.
Because this student will serve as a model for the less-proficient student, he or she should read carefully but quickly and with expression.

Step 2. The lower-performing student reads the same text for five minutes.
By listening before reading, this student has had an opportunity to take note of any hard words and so is more likely to be comfortable with the text and to read it fluently.

Step 3. The lower-performing reader takes one or two minutes to retell the story.
The teacher should allow one minute for students in the second and third grades to complete this step and two minutes for students in the fourth through the eighth grade to do so.

  1. After both students have read aloud, the higher-performing student asks the lower-performing reader, “What happened first?” and “What happened next?”
  2. In the event that the reader does not remember the next piece of information, or if he or she recalls that information out of sequence, the Coach tells one thing that was learned next.
  3. Having been reminded, the reader retells the event that was learned next.
  4. If the Coach believes this information to be incorrect, he or she retells what happened.

Partner Reading Question Card

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partner reading and retell

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Coaching Tips

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Note: Unlike in the Partner Reading phase, in Paragraph Shrinking the partners will read from different parts of the same text.

As each student reads, the student Coach monitors and offers corrective feedback when the Reader commits one of these word recognition errors:

  • Saying the word wrong
  • Adding a word
  • Leaving out a word
  • Pausing for more than four seconds

During training, teachers should take care to emphasize that making mistakes is okay, because it’s by making mistakes that students will learn words they didn’t know before. Teachers should train students to identify and correct four types of word recognition errors as they occur.

  • SayiCorrection Cardng the word wrong
  • Adding a word
  • Leaving out a word
  • Pausing for more than four seconds

When the reader makes one of these errors, the Coach should follow the procedures outlined below.

  1. The Coach says, “Check it!”
  2. The Coach allows the reader time to supply the correct word.
  3. If the Reader is unable to do so, the Coach provides the word and requests repetition, saying, “That word is _____. What word?”
  4. The Reader repeats the word and, upon the Coach’s prompting, reads the sentence again.


Note: All cards available on Resource Page 8.

Note: This exact procedure and script are used for all error types, even though they may not accurately address the error. This helps the students to memorize one procedure and use it automatically, in turn allowing them to spend more time engaged in a reading activity. More advanced students might tailor the script to fit each error type, but the teacher should neither encourage nor promote their doing so.

PALS in Action

View the movies below to observe student pairs participating in Partner Reading and Story Retell.

Partner Reading

(time: 0:46)

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Story Retell

(time: 0:48)

View Transcript

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