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

Page 2: The Benefits of PALS

Mrs. Garcia’s remedial reading class has a wide range of reading abilities and includes students both with and without disabilities. Several of them read at a fourth-grade level or below, while others read at a seventh-grade level. Because her students have such diverse learning needs, Mrs. Garcia is excited to discover that PALS is effective for students with learning disabilities, low-performing students without learning disabilities, average-achieving readers, and English learners (ELs).

student collage

In addition to improving the reading performance of students, PALS:

  • Allows all students—those with and without learning difficulties—to be actively involved in peer-mediated sessions
  • Makes it possible for students with disabilities to spend more time in the least-restrictive environment, thus increasing their access to the general education curriculum
  • Can be used as a research-validated reading approach in schools implementing response to intervention

Research Shows


  • High-school students in remedial and special education classes who were reading far below grade level (i.e., grades two to six) and participated in PALS scored higher on a measure of reading comprehension than did members of the control group who did not.
    (Fuchs, Fuchs, & Kazdan, 1999)
  • High-school students with mild disabilities who participated in peer tutoring using a reading comprehension strategy in history class performed significantly better on chapter, unit, and year-end tests than did members of the control who used guided notes.
    (Mastropieri, Scruggs, Spencer, & Fontana, 2003)

lynnFuchs3
Lynn Fuchs, PhD
Nicholas Hobbs Endowed Chair
in Special Education and Human Development
Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN

Lynn Fuchs highlights the main features of the PALS approach (time: 0:40).

View Transcript

Besides accommodating the needs of students of various academic abilities and actively including all students in reading activities, PALS boasts a number of additional benefits for teachers and students. Specifically, the approach:

  • Is easily implemented
  • Is cost-effective
  • Accelerates student achievement in reading
  • Encourages on-task behavior and student participation
  • Allows students more opportunities to read
  • Allows students to receive corrective feedback
  • Is enjoyable
  • Motivates students
  • Promotes collaboration and positive social interactions

For Your Information

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Because PALS is easy for teachers to use and improves students’ reading skills, the U.S. Department of Education Program Effectiveness Panel has deemed it a “best practice.”

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