What characteristics might Mrs. Garcia look for in a reading approach?

Page 1: Overview of PALS

Teacher thinkingAs she reviews approaches for improving the reading skills of her ninth-grade students, Mrs. Garcia becomes particularly interested in Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies for reading (PALS-R or PALS). Modeled after ClassWide Peer Tutoring (CWPT), PALS complements the existing reading curriculum by providing research-validated learning strategies through reciprocal peer tutoring (i.e., peer-mediated instruction in which students in pairs take turns serving as a coach and as a reader). In the PALS approach, teachers team a higher-performing reader with a lower-performing one in order to complete activities designed to promote the development of reading skills. In addition to reciprocal peer tutoring, PALS incorporates:

  • Highly structured activities that have been demonstrated to improve students’ learning
  • The use of scripted prompts
  • Frequent verbal interaction and feedback between the coach and reader 
  • A competitive game format
 

Listen now as Doug Fuchs discusses the development of PALS (time: 0:55).

dougFuchs3
Doug Fuchs, PhD
Nicholas Hobbs Endowed Chair
in Special Education and Human Development
Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN

View Transcript

Listen to Karin Prentice highlight PALS intended purpose for high-school students who are struggling with reading (time: 0:27).

Prentice
Karin Prentice
Former High-school PALS research coordinator
Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN

View Transcript

Though PALS was originally developed for use with students in grades two through six, it was later expanded to include a version for high-school students. The main features of the approach are largely the same with the exception of the type of reinforcement system used to motivate students. The table below briefly outlines the skills addressed for each group and the activities that are used to improve their reading skills.

  2nd–6th Grades High School
Skills
  • Fluency
  • Comprehension
  • Fluency
  • Comprehension
Activities
  • Partner Reading with Retell
  • Paragraph Shrinking
  • Prediction Relay
  • Partner Reading with Retell
  • Paragraph Shrinking
  • Prediction Relay
Reinforcement
  • Team Approach
  • Earning points
  • Individual Approach
  • Earning tangible items

For Your Information

Although no version of PALS is specifically designed for seventh- and eighth-grade students, teachers can use either PALS for grades 2–6 or PALS for high school.

Because Mrs. Garcia is interested in approaches appropriate for secondary students, this Module will highlight PALS for high-school students. If you would like to learn more about PALS for other grade levels, we encourage you to take a look at this IRIS Module:

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