Buddy reading (or Partner reading) is an important Must-Do in our opinion. But just like any literacy activity, buddy reading needs to be managed well or it may not go quite as planned. So here are my 5 simple tips to managing buddy reading in your classroom:
(Don’t miss the FREE editable reading anchor chart at the bottom!)
Know why your students are buddy reading, and then make sure THEY know why it’s important
First things first, take some time to really consider what you want your readers to learn from buddy reading, and then be sure to tell them.
What are their reading goals at this time? Are some students working on reading fluency? Sight word automaticity? Comprehension or retell? These goals will change throughout the year, but make sure they know what their goals are.
Take a minute after testing each student to discuss their goal(s) for the next 2 weeks. Have students suggest strategies and guide them in picking one or 2 strategies that they can use at home and in class when reading independently.
You choose the buddies for partner reading
With a targeted approach to teaching partner reading, you are the one who chooses appropriate pairs of readers. You select the leveled books for them to read, and you choose how the readers work together. There will be other times in the day when they can choose their books and their partners. But,
Choosing buddies is not an easy task. You may want to consider:
- partners that can work well together
- one partner at a slightly higher reading level than the other (Suggestion: List your students from lowest reading level to highest. Cut the list in half so you now have 2 lists. Select pairs from their own lists.)
- pairing special needs students with someone who is able to support those needs
Model, model, and then model some more how you want them to partner read
This buddy reading tip is BIG and we need to be explicit with expectations. Tell them and show them:
- where to find their books
- where to sit
- how to sit
- how to hold the books
- how to point to the words
- how loudly to read
- when to stop the reader
- what to focus on (goals)
- and why we do it that way.
Review these expectations often, perhaps during class meetings with the editable reading anchor chart below. Have students model for the class. Discuss possible problems and solutions students may encounter when partner reading.
Start slowly and practice
You might want to practice for a week before having students buddy read during guided reading time. Walk around and guide, support, reinforce, etc. You will know when they are ready.
Start with 5 minutes of partner reading and increase gradually up to 15 minutes as the year progresses (or longer for older students). As the year goes on, review your expectations with your readers regularly model as needed, and praise them for a job well done!
Post a reading anchor chart
Refer to a reading anchor chart often! If you don’t have a partner anchor chart, I have a FREE editable reading anchor chart for you to grab below! Just download and open in PowerPoint. It is pre-filled with suggested partner reading strategies and super easy to edit. Feel free to edit in PowerPoint to select the fonts and change the text to fit your needs!
Looking for more teaching strategies? Check out these blog posts:
- Keep Students Engaged at Reading Centers with 5 Easy Tips!
- 6 Helpful Tips To Use When Teaching Blends + FREEBIE
- 6 Reliable Guided Reading Tips That Really Work!