School-Based Intervention Idea from


Reading Fluency: Paired Reading  (Topping, 1987)

The student builds fluency and confidence as a reader by first reading aloud in unison with an accomplished reader, then signaling that he or she is ready to read on alone with corrective feedback.

The more accomplished reader (tutor) and student sit in a quiet location with a book positioned between them. The tutor says to the student, “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.” Tutor and student begin reading aloud together. If the student misreads a word, the tutor points to the word and pronounces it. Then the student repeats the word. When the student reads the word correctly, tutor and student resume reading through the passage. When the child delivers the appropriate signal (a hand tap) to read independently, the tutor stops reading aloud and instead follows along silently as the student continues with oral reading. The tutor occasionally praises the student in specific terms for good reading (e.g., “That was a hard word. You did a nice job sounding it out!”). If, while reading alone, the child either commits a reading error or hesitates for longer than 5 seconds, the tutor points to the error-word and pronounces it. Then the tutor tells the student to say the word. When the student pronounces the error-word correctly, tutor and student resume reading aloud in unison. This tandem reading continues until the student again signals to read alone.


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

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