By Tracey Wood
Bridging the gap
When Johnny can read basic books but not harder and more interesting books
"paired reading" bridges the gap. In paired reading we read
out loud with Johnny to help him develop fluency, confidence and comprehension.
Without our help his reading would be slow and labored and he'd lose the
sense of the text.
Where to begin
Choose exciting or fun books that are slightly above Johnny's current
ability and plan to read regularly for at least 20 minutes each time.
Try out these different types of paired reading to see which suits Johnny
This is when we read out loud to Johnny and ask him to take his turn too.
We split the book evenly, one page or chapter each, or we do most of the
reading ourselves. Gauge Johnny's willingness and divide the text accordingly.
If he's reluctant, it's OK to have him read only one sentence per page
(he can choose his sentence) until he's more confident.
This is when we read out loud together, in unison. If we read very slightly
ahead of Johnny he can follow our lead when he gets stuck with a word.
If we read slightly behind Johnny we'll know he's doing most of the work!
When we get well co-ordinated there's another variant too. -We jump in
and out of Johnny's reading according to whether he needs our help or
not. Johnny nudges us when he wants us to read with him and nudges again
when he wants us to stop.
This is a good technique when we know Johnny's problem is more lack of
enthusiasm than lack of ability. -We read a really good book to Johnny
then stop at a crucial point and leave him hanging! When we close our
book we're hoping Johnny will be so captivated he'll simply have to read
more for himself.
What about siblings?
If you have two children who each want to be involved, try rotating your
attention. Read one book with Johnny then one with Jane. Perhaps another
family member could do the other half of your rotation. With more than
two children, try alternating paired reading with stories on tape. Libraries
usually have lots to choose from and Johnny can enjoy harder books (like
the Harry Potter series) he would otherwise miss out on.
A happy routine
Paired reading is effective. Johnny progresses because he enjoys the close
interaction with us and gets to read an exciting book too. But to make
sure paired reading works we must choose great books, be warm and supportive
and make paired reading a regular and frequent habit.
Tracey Wood is a childrens reading specialist
and the author of "See Johnny Read! -The 5 Most Effective Ways to End
Your Son's Reading Problems" and "Teaching
Kids To Read for Dummies". Tracey's hallmark is that she simplifies
the latest information about reading into practical, bite-sized pieces that
anyone, no matter how busy, can use to help a child make headway. You can
contact Tracey or find information and word lists at her website, www.ReadingPains.com
Pat Linkhorn is the .....