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Paired Reading

What is Paired Reading? The child reads aloud in tandem with an accomplished reader. At a child signal, the helping reader stops reading, while the child continues on. When the child commits a reading error, the helping reader resumes reading in tandem.


  • Reading book

Step 1: Sit with the child in a quiet location without too many distractions. Position the book selected for the reading session so that both you and the child can easily follow the text.

Step 2:  Say to the child, "Now we are going to read aloud together for a little while. Whenever you want to read alone, just tap the back of my hand like this [demonstrate] and I will stop reading. If you come to a word you don't know, I will tell you the word and begin reading with you again.".

Step 3:  Begin reading aloud with the child. If the child misreads a word, point to the word and pronounce it. Then have the child repeat the word. When the child reads the word correctly, resume reading through the passage.

Step 4:  When the child delivers the appropriate signal (a hand tap), stop reading aloud and instead follow along silently as the child continues with oral reading. Be sure occasionally to praise the child in specific terms for good reading (e.g., "That was a hard word. You did a nice job sounding it out!").

Step 5:  If, while reading alone, the child either commits a reading error or hesitates for longer than 5 seconds, point to the error-word and pronounce it. Then tell the child to say the word. When the child pronounces the error-word correctly, begin reading aloud again in unison with the child.

Step 6:  Continue reading aloud with the child until he or she again signals to read alone.


  • Topping, K. (1987). Paired reading: A powerful technique for parent use. Reading Teacher, 40, 608-614.