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

Page 4: Partner Reading with Retell

Girls writingThe first activity in each PALS session is Partner Reading, sometimes referred to as Partner Reading with Retell. Mrs. Garcia recognizes that this activity will be beneficial for her students because Partner Reading has been shown to improve reading accuracy and fluency and—with its story retelling component—to enhance reading comprehension. Partner Reading consists of the three main steps outlined in the box below.

Partner Reading with Retell
(12 minutes)

Step 1. The higher-performing student reads first for five minutes.

Step 2. Starting where the first reader left off, the lower-performing student reads for five minutes.

Step 3. For two minutes, starting with the higher-performing student, the students take turns retelling the main ideas as they occur in the story.

Note: Whatever text is selected for Partner Reading should be appropriate for the less-proficient student.

Corrective Feedback

Partner Reading

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. In addition, teachers should train the Coach to point out and correct word recognition errors as they occur.

Hard-Word Errors

When the Reader encounters a difficult word, the Coach says, “Stop. Do you need some help with that word?” Or the Reader says, “I need some help with this word.” The Coach encourages the Reader to:

  • Look at the parts of the word.
  • Say the word very slowly.

If the Reader continues to have difficulty, the Coach provides the word or the students ask the teacher for help.

Careless Mistakes

When the reader makes one of the careless errors listed below, the Coach says, “Stop. You made a careless mistake. Reread the sentence.”

  • Leaving out a word
  • Adding a word
  • Saying the wrong word or word ending


It sometimes happens that a student will disagree with his or her partner’s retelling of a main idea. When this occurs, the students should pause, articulate their disagreement, and then resume the activity as normal.

PALS in Action

Once they have completed the Partner Reading activity, the students engage in Story Retell. Watch the movie below to see a student pair engaged in Partner Reading with Story Retell and a demonstration of error correction procedures. For the sake of time, the movie highlights only one student reading before it fades to Story Retell (time: 1:40).

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