Paired/Buddy Reading is a strategy in which students read along together or take turns reading aloud to one another. Student pairs can include a more fluent reader paired with a less fluent reader or students who read at the same level, depending on the purpose. This strategy frees up the teacher to provide more individualized attention to pairs of students while the other groups are reading together. Paired/Buddy Reading helps build students’ fluency, self-confidence, and motivation by providing a safe space to practice reading and re-reading and to receive feedback.


    1. Determine how to pair students.
    2. Choose a text that works well for Paired/Buddy reading (e.g., relevant to the content and at an appropriate reading level).
    3. Provide each student with a copy of the text.
    4. If necessary, front load potentially difficult vocabulary and provide just enough background knowledge of the text so students are familiar with the content.
    5. Provide students with specific directions for the Paired/Buddy reading. Consider the following:
    • Will they sit side-by-side or across from one another?
    • Will they choral read in unison? Echo read (one person reads, then the other repeats)? Take turns with each reading a sentence, paragraph, section, page, etc. while the other person follows along and listens? Will they choose?
    • How will they help each other with difficult words (i.e., re-reading misread words, pausing, asking for help, referencing a resource, etc.)?
    • How will they offer feedback to one another?
  1. Ask students to begin reading in pairs. If reading in unison, remind them to adjust their reading speed so they can stay together.


    • What did you notice about yourself as a reader when you read with your partner/buddy?
    • What did you notice about yourself as a reader when you read alone?
    • What do you like best about Partner/Buddy reading?
    • How does Partner/Buddy reading help you?


      • Creating a safe space/classroom community is important with this strategy. Before jumping into Paired/Buddy reading, cultivate a classroom environment that invites students to read side-by-side with a peer.
      • When pairing students, be mindful of and sensitive to students with special needs, multilingual learners, students who struggle with reading, and/or students who are shy or lack confidence.
      • Before implementing this strategy, be sure to model the procedure with a partner (another adult or student) to ensure students understand what Paired/Buddy reading looks and sounds like. As students engage, walk around the room to monitor students offering specific feedback.
      • Modifications include Choral Reading (reading together) and Echo Reading (one student reads a section of text and the other student repeats).
      • Leverage the use of technology to provide students with models of hearing a fluent reader. Record yourself (or another fluent reader) reading the text being used in class for fluency practice so students can re-listen and  practice on their own. Or, have students record themselves reading and listen to it.
      • Provide guidance and prompts to help students give feedback to their partner:
        • Compliment strengths (e.g., “That flowed well,” “That sounded just like you talk” etc.)
        • Point out areas for growth (e.g., “Could you go back and reread that word/sentence/section?” “Can you make your voice match the feeling?”)



      Students echo read a poem together, taking turns as the first reader of a line or stanza.


      Students read a short passage and alternate each paragraph with a focus on reading smoothly and sounding out words. Repeat the activity the next day with the same focus, then engage in a discussion of the content.




      Students buddy read a text in unison about healthy eating. After reading, the students reflect together on what they noticed about themselves as a reader when reading with their buddy.


      Students read a short article in Time for Kids, alternating each section. After the first Paired/Buddy reading, the partners discuss how well they did with their reading, and then identify and practice words with which they struggled.