Paired Reading

Research Based Fluency Instruction By: Jennifer Leath

Honor Code and Background Information

I pledge, on my honor, to uphold UT Arlington’s tradition of academic integrity, a tradition that values hard work and honest effort in the pursuit of academic excellence.

I promise that I will submit only work that I personally create or contribute to group collaborations, and I will appropriately reference any work from other sources. I will follow the highest standards of integrity and uphold the spirit of the Honor Code.

Jennifer Leath

May 9, 2016

Background Information:

After a discussion with the principal, she mentioned there was not a consistent way to monitor fluency seen in the classroom. The lower grades work on the phonemic awareness skills and comprehension. Fluency tends to be pushed to the side at times. She also said this is an important skill to work on because students are getting to the upper grades and they do not have the stamina to read STAAR. I spoke with third grade teachers because this is the first year the students take STAAR. They agree with the principals’ statement. I asked the third grade teachers if they had fluency practice incorporated in the weekly instruction and /or small group time. Their response was, fluency is practiced, however it is not consistently done. I met with first grade teachers and asked them how they monitor fluency. Their response was close to third grade response. Fluency is monitored, however it is not done on a regular basis (weekly/daily).

My conclusion is teachers need help with incorporating research based fluency practice in the classroom. I will help teachers implement paired reading fluency practice in a whole group setting and small group instruction. I will present to the teachers what research says about fluency. I will also present why fluency practice is important. The book Fluency Instruction: Research-Based Best Practices by Timothy Rasinski will be a guide to applying fluency practice in our weekly reading instruction.

Target Audience: Primary grades

Learning Objectives:

1. Teachers will be able to administer pre assessments of fluency.

2. Teachers will be able to implement fluency practice in class on a daily basis.

3. Teachers will be able to teach students to self monitor their own fluency.

4. Teacher will be able to administer post assessments of fluency.

5. Teachers will have resources to continue to monitor fluency development

Fluency Instruction

The video below provides a great example of how to introduce a fluency work stations. The teacher, Jenna, explains the importance of working on fluency to her 5th grade class. She also explains and demonstrates a paired reading activity to her 5th grade class. The explanations and modeling can be altered for younger grade levels. This instructional strategy can be used at any grade level.

Video Source:

Guided Reading with Jenna: Introducing Work Stations

Teacher Tips

  1. Reaching ALL Students: Paired reading is an instructional strategy that can be implemented in a classroom that has an ability to reach all students. Although this strategy can benefits struggling readers. Samuels (2007) found repeated reading is one of the most universal remedial reading techniques to help poor readers achieve reading skills. However, all students can improve their fluency. This instructional strategy can help reach all students.
  2. Peer Monitoring: Teachers find that having a student be an active listener has many benefits. Having an audience motivates the reader, and the listener learns to notice aspects that make for better reading. Toppings (1995) found scores in both accuracy and comprehension for participant children were statistically significantly greater than for controls.
  3. Model, Model, Model: Browns’ (1980) found explicitly teaching children the metalanguage of fluency is important to developing their ability to think and talk about fluency as an object that they can consciously monitor and control. Students need to hear what good reading sounds like.
  4. Self-Monitoring: Students being able to self- monitor their fluency provides a sense of ownership to their learning. This will build confidence in students as they read see/hear the improvements in their fluency. Modeling is still important in self-monitoring. One caution to be be aware of is students may thing their rate, expression, and accuracy is better than it really is. These will become teachable moments.
  5. Provide Positive Feedback: According to Rasinski, This is a crucial part of paired reading. Providing positive feedback to a partner on the performance aspects fluency as well as assessing one's own performance using self-evaluation sheets.
  6. Read Out Loud: Although fluency is important to both silent and oral reading, research suggests that oral reading practice and instruction are most effective for developing this ability. The National Assessment of Educational Progress found there is a positive relationship between oral reading fluency and reading comprehension (Pinnell et al., 1995).
  7. Make Time for Fluency Instruction: Koakinen and Blum (2009) article discusses the benefits for paired reading being used to improve fluency The only way to improve fluency is to allow students to practice fluency. Rasinski suggest to provide 30 minutes of fluency instruction each day. Paired reading and fluency practice does not have to be used in just in a literacy block. It can be used across curriculum.
  8. What is a Good Fit?: Guided reading levels can help you chose the text level for students to use for paired reading. The text doesn't need to too easy or frustrating. Text on a instructional reading level and/or independent level is a good fit for paired reading. This will vary on text genre. This may take some practice. You may not find a good fit of text for each student. Monitoring during the beginning stages of paired reading will help you with the appropriate text for each student.
  9. Students Take Ownership: Once students have had plenty of practice with paired reading, they can be encouraged to pursue their own interest. They become more excited about reading. Paired reading can still provide the same support that is needed. (Rasinski, Blachowicz, & Lems, 2012)
  10. Have Fun! Be Flexible!: Every thing will be need guidance and practice. The students will not master paired reading and show growth right away. The time and effort needs to be put in from the teacher and students.

Parent Tips

  1. Encourage your child to read every night.
  2. Be a reading model for your child
  3. Create a family library
  4. Read stories more than once.
  5. Talk about what was read.
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The follow websites would be helpful when you are looking for paired reading text.

1. This website is free for teachers. It just requires a quick log in set up. This website offers a wide range of reading passages and reading topics. You can request reading levels, word counts, grade level, etc.

2. This website offers research based lessons that help build fluency.

3. Teachers can search paired reading and fluency development. Many resources and materials are provided to use in the classroom.

4. This website offers nonfiction articles for teachers. Grade level and text level can be chosen. Spanish articles are also available.

5. This website offers silly poems for students. This would fun fluency practice.


Fuchs, L. S., Fuchs, D., Hosp, M. K., & Jenkins, J. R. (2001). Oral reading fluency as an indicator of reading competence: A theoretical, empirical, and historical analysis. Scientific Studies of Reading, 5(3), 239-256. Retrieved from

This analysis of current studies share the overall results of the importance of oral reading fluency. Multiple studies are analyzed. This would be helpful for teachers looking for research-based practices to use in the classroom. There are fluency assessments that are included in the article as well.

Rasinski, T. V. (2010). The fluent reader: Oral & silent reading strategies for building fluency, word recognition & comprehension. New York, NY: Scholastic.

This book includes research based fluency strategies for teachers. This book would be helpful for any classroom teacher wanting to improve fluency instruction in their classroom.

Topping, K. J. (2014). Paired reading and related methods for improving fluency.International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education, 7(1), 57-69. Retrieved from

This article discusses the benefits of paired reading being used in the classroom. There is a good explanation of paired reading and how to implement it into the classroom.

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Brown, A.L. (1980). Meta-cognitive development and reading. In R. J. Spiro, B.C. Bruce, & W. F. Brewer (Eds.), Theoretical issues in reading comprehension: Perspectives from cognitive psychology, linguistics, artificial intelligence, and education (pp.543-481). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Koakinen, P.S., & Blum, I.H. (2009) Paired repeated reading: A classroom strategy for developing fluent reading. In T. Rasinski (Ed.), Essentials of reading fluency. Newark, DE: International Reading Association

Rasinski, T., Blachowicz, C., Lems, K. (2012) Fluency instruction: Research – based best practices. 2nd Ed. New York, NY: The Guildford Press.

Samuels, S. J. (1997). The method of repeated readings. The Reading Teacher,50 (5), 376-381. Retrieved from:

Topping, K. J. (1995) Paired reading, spelling, and writing: The handbook for teachers and parents. London: Cassell.