Literacy 7-12

Systems Change
Literacy 7-12 > Strategies > Reciprocal Teaching: PALS

Reciprocal Teaching: PALS


When students explain to others, they deepen their understanding and gain confidence in their learning. Through Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies (PALS), learners alternate in performing a literacy activity and sharing their thoughts with a partner by taking on the roles of a coach and player. Students provide and receive immediate feedback from their peers, which can increase their Reading Fluency, Vocabulary development, and comprehension.

Use It in the Classroom

Starting at 1:06, watch how this ninth grade teacher uses reciprocal teaching with the roles of summarizer, questioner, clarifier, and predictor in her language arts classroom. By offering example questions, students are able to autonomously read and discuss in their small groups, deepening their comprehension and Social & Relationship Skills.

  • Prior to using PALS in the classroom, teachers should review the procedures of the activity and use appropriately leveled text to ensure the effectiveness of the strategy. PALS can be especially useful for targeting specific reading skills, such as Reading Fluency using partner reading. Students take turns being the reader and coach, and as the reader reads a text aloud, the coach records errors and prompts any miscues during reading. This can be structured for the less proficient reader to hear a more experienced reader read aloud first to provide a model. Upon completion, students retell information to one another using structured prompts to promote reading comprehension. Giving learners a chance to share their thoughts with one another increases Motivation, and peer-to-peer interactions also provide opportunities to practice Social Awareness & Relationship Skills.
  • Design It into Your Product

  • Product designers can provide the digital space and tools for learners to quickly check in or share their ideas while reading. This space could also allow teachers to structure PALS around certain content or texts to aid in curriculum development. Facilitating conversations between learners about texts increases retention of content in Long-term Memory and also supports Speed of Processing.
  • Factors Supported by this Strategy