Paired reading is a wonderful reading technique which helps children master the skill of reading. It’s not only for children who are struggling, but also helps any child improve their fluency skills. Paired reading can be used in a classroom, pairing two readers, one more skilled than the other, or at home with you and your child.
You both begin reading from the same book at the same time. Your child can place his finger under the text as he goes initially, to set the pace. Don’t stop or pause unless your child asks you to. I find dropping my voice slightly helps my son take the lead but I’m always there reading with him. The security comes in knowing that you are there to read through a difficult section or help when he struggles with pronunciation.
Reading with someone encourages children to read in a safe and supported way. Any fears about not being able to read are quickly allayed by hearing your voice with theirs. They become more confident. If they stop on a word you keep going and they learn from listening to you. Start with simple books at their level. They will be encouraged to try reading books above their usual reading level once they get comfortable with the method.
Leslie Flax, a learning support teacher with many years of experience, believes paired reading is the key to improving a child’s fluency and confidence in reading. She encourages parents to sit with their child in a calm and comfortable setting and read together, gently correcting mispronunciations and letting the child read alone or with help, using a signal of tapping on the book. See the method from EP Tool Box here. It’s really simple to follow.
If you have a young reader struggling to read, a good resource is Reading Rockets, a website focused on teaching reading and helping learners and their teachers and parents. They have great free downloads and the latest research material.
My children love doing paired reading together – especially when it comes to the Lego catalogue 🙂