Learn what works

In partner reading, students are divided into pairs and take turns reading aloud to each other. Each student reads a short passage three times and then provides feedback about their own and their partner’s oral fluent reading behaviors. For partner reading, partners can have the same reading ability or the partnership can include a more fluent reader with a less fluent reader. Many types of reading materials can be used, such as passages from basal readers, student produced stories, and tradebooks (Every Child Reads).

Partner reading enables classroom teachers to use repeated reading with a minimum of management difficulties. This strategy gives beginning readers or older students with reading difficulties an opportunity to read contextual materials a number of times so they can experience fluent reading. A typical paired, repeated reading activity takes about 10 to 15 minutes (Every Child Reads).

Instructional Steps for Partner Reading

  1. Students select their own passage from material they are currently using in instruction, counting out approximately 50 words. Having students select different passages makes listening to a partner read more interesting and discourages direct comparison of reading proficiency.
  2. Students read their passages silently and then decide who will read first.
  3. Reader: The reader reads his/her passage aloud to a partner three different times. Readers may ask their partners for help with a word. After each oral reading, the reader answers the question “How well did you read?” on a self-evaluation sheet. Listener: The listener listens to his/her partner read and, after the second and third reading, tells the partner how his/her reading improved and records the improvement on a “listening” sheet.
  4. After the third reading, students switch roles and begin the cycle at Step 3 (as noted above).

Watch and Learn: Teacher Interview

Benefits of Partner Reading

No special materials are needed for Partner Reading. Teachers are able to use the reading materials they already have in their classrooms. This means teachers may select reading materials from across the content areas. Once students learn this routine, teacher facilitation is limited. Teachers are able to move around the room, observe students, and assist as needed.

Helpful Hints for the Teacher

  • Carefully assign partners.
  • Decide how often partners need to be changed.
  • Make sure partners have a purpose for reading.
  • Set a time limit.
  • Provide instruction as to what those who finish ahead of the rest of the class should do.
  • Model the expected behavior.
  • Be visible.

See how it works

Sample Planning Guide (3rd grade)
Sample Planning Guide (4th grade)
Sample Planning Guide (high school)

Watch and Learn: Teacher Modeling, Grade 3

Do what works

Planning Template (Partner Reading)
Partner Reading Form: Self and Peer Evaluation
Classroom Fluency Implementation Log


  • Arens, A., Cunningham, P., Hall, D., & Loman, K. (2005). The Teacher’s Guide to Big Blocks. Greensboro, NC: Carson-Dellosa Publishing Company.
  • Iowa Department of Education. (2007). Every Child Reads: Excellence in Teaching and Learning. http://www.iowadereading.info
  • Koskinen, P., & Blum, I. (1986, October). “Paired Repeated Reading: A Classroom Strategy for Developing fluent Reading.” The Reading Teacher. New Jersey: IRA.