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Skip to 0 minutes and 6 seconds So what have teachers said about using paired reading? And how successful do they think it’s been in their classrooms? As part of a North Tyneside project, we asked teachers to complete the survey. We got feedback from 62 teachers. 2/3 of teachers told us that their students picked up the process of paired reading quickly. No students were reported to have encountered significant problems. Teachers reported that students worked well together. One teacher commented, “Most pairs have enjoyed reading and discussing the book together.” Another said, an autistic boy in Year 7 has more confidence when reading aloud in lessons. I do think it is due to the relationship he has built with his tutor.”

Skip to 0 minutes and 54 seconds Teachers felt that paired reading had an impact on student confidence during reading. Teachers commented, “A number of Year 9 students were extremely supportive and provided good praise to their tutees. This improved the confidence of the Year 7 students.” “Year 7 students were shy to begin with, but towards the end, they were reading with confidence.” Another teacher said, “At the start of the program, a few Year 7 students were not very confident in their reading. However, as the weeks went on, they became a lot more confident and were reading louder and with more confidence. This was due to the Year 9 tutor asking more questions and helping them choose the correct level of book.”

Skip to 1 minute and 39 seconds The majority of teachers felt the relationships within their classroom improved. One teacher said, “Pupils took a while to get used to each other, as they were mixing with pupils they would not usually mix with. However, towards the end, they even started to get chatty.” In this video, here are some thoughts from teachers who have implemented the paired reading technique in their classrooms. [VIDEO PLAYBACK] - Once our staff had been trained, we came back to school. We fed back to the principal, SLT, and the rest of the staff about the training. And from that moment, we started to plan how we were going to introduce the program to the pupils.

Skip to 2 minutes and 17 seconds We decided, as a whole, that we would do a little icebreaker activity with all the Year 5s and all the Year 7 children in the hall, where they would get to know– maybe get to meet a few people that they hadn’t really spoken to before. So they were sharing interesting facts about each other. They were sharing jokes, and so on. And then we drilled down a little bit more. And they were sharing things like favorite authors, the books they’re currently reading, and so on, until we got them into the pairs that they were going to work with.

Skip to 2 minutes and 40 seconds We spoke to them again, all as a whole, about how they felt about reading and about the whole-school focus that we have on promoting reading and literacy at the moment and gave them a little bit of an idea as to what the program would involve. We split into separate classes. And the teachers used some of the materials and slideshows provided. We worked really hard with our Year 7s, who were the tutors, as to the techniques that they needed to adapt and that they needed to adhere to when working with the Year 5s. And we did likewise with the Year 5s so that they knew exactly what was expected of them.

Skip to 3 minutes and 11 seconds They knew when to tap when they wanted to take over a little. It wouldn’t just be a big shock to the system whenever we actually hit the ground running for their first session. - When we came back from the training day, I worked alongside the P5/6 teacher. And together, we put together all of the resources which you had already provided us with. We brought together our own ideas. And we made resources which were child-friendly, lots of color within them for all the special needs that we have within our school. From that, then we, together, had a team-teaching lesson with both classes in the ICT suite, where the children were allowed to see the program being modeled by the teachers.

Skip to 3 minutes and 51 seconds So we used the five-finger test. We modeled a whole lesson together. And then we didn’t allow the children to move on to doing it on their own until lesson number two. So the children had a whole lesson of watching the teachers doing that. - At this stage, we’re 8 weeks into the program. And we are thinking about questionnairing our children towards the end of the program, the end of the 16 weeks. What we would like to see is some evidence of increased confidence, increased fluency, increased expression, how much cognizance the children are paying to punctuation, and so on. What we do is we refer to a questionnaire that all the children took at the beginning of the program.

Skip to 4 minutes and 30 seconds And again, we’re looking for some evidence when we come out the other end of all those things that we’ve spoken about to prove the worth of the program that we can see on a daily basis. If you speak to any of the teachers involved, if you speak to any of the children involved, there’s a lovely buzz about the program. And they put a lot of effort into it. But the children are very, very enthusiastic. And even at this halfway point, the children will tell you that they’re getting an awful lot out of the program. - When we first introduced the children to the program, they were so excited.

Skip to 4 minutes and 58 seconds Their faces just lit up whenever they saw that they had two teachers, first of all, introducing them to this program. And they were very excited. However for some of the primary 7s, they find this a little bit daunting, especially those children who are not in the top group. They were a bit daunted by the fact that they were possibly going to have to be a teacher. And so we had to comfort those children and reassure them that they would be more than capable of doing this. And once the program then started, we soon discovered within the first lesson that those children were the very children that were so engaged and really willing and enthusiastic to participate.

Skip to 5 minutes and 37 seconds [END PLAYBACK] We’ve also spent time observing teachers undertaking paired reading with their class. In fact, we’ve made observations in over 200 classrooms. Teachers are generally able to implement the technique very successfully in schools. What we found from our observations is that getting the book at the right level of difficulty is challenging but worth investing time in to get right. Teachers who are mobile and interact with pairs to coach them get the best results. And classrooms where resources are prepared in advance and students know how to access them spend more time actually reading.

What have Teachers said who have used the Technique?

To complete this section, please watch the video to hear what teachers think of the impact on the students in their classroom.

The impact of the peer tutoring technique on reading is explored with evidence and commentary from teachers.

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This video is from the free online course:

Using Peer Tutoring to Improve Student Reading

Queen's University Belfast