Friday, March 16, 2012

Partner Time Reading in Kindergarten and First Grade

Hello Friends,

A few weeks ago some teachers at North Street School and I investigated partner reading time in reading workshop.  We began our investigation thinking that we can teach kids to use their partner reading time to practice one or more of the following:
  • Accuracy - Kids can read books to or with partners and practice monitoring for accuracy and helping each other with the tricky parts.
  • Fluency - Kids can read books with partners and practice reading in longer phrases and using punctuation to help with intonation.
  • Comprehension - Kids can talk about their books with partners.  They can retell important or favorite parts, ask for help with confusing parts, and talk about ideas across books.
Kristi, one of the teachers at the school, thought that her kindergarten readers needed some support to read for long chunks of time with their partners.  We came back to one of our BIG ideas this year...

Kristi taught her students several different options for partner reading time throughout the year and so now, rather than telling the kids how they would spend their time each day, she gave them some choices.  She presented a a 'placemat' of sorts with three options:
  • Read
  • Talk
  • Ask for help 

Note:  These three options can change.  You can add options like this:
  • Act out a page or a part
  • Read/perform in character voices 
  • Talk across books (compare/contrast)
 Kristi gave her students the placemat and invited them to place it on their table stop during independent reading.  Then, as kids read independently, they decided which books they wanted to read with partners and the purpose for reading each book or part of the book with the partner.  As they finished each book (8-10 books in the baggies of these readers reading at levels B-G) , kids decided if they wanted to read it to a partner and if so, they decided if they wanted to read it, talk about it, or ask for help. 

Many kids filled up their placemat with piles of books so when partner reading time began, they were excited to follow their partner time agenda.  Many of the partnerships read for 15 minutes.  Bottom line - using your independent time to prepare for partner time allowed kids to have a full partner time agenda and increased their stamina.  Kristi can now teach another guided reading group or strategy lesson during this block of time on some days of the week.

Thanks to Kristi for sending us the pictures!


  1. I can't wait to try this out with my first graders. It will reinforce to (and remind) students to prepare for partnerships during independent reading. It includes the added bonus of being such a flexible idea. Thanks!

  2. Hi Sarah,

    I was at you "Read, Read, Read" workshop yesterday when you talked about this idea and LOVE it! I am going to start it this week in my first grade classroom. I know you said that moving the placemats was a bit tricky for the students, so I decided to print out "Read, Talk, Help" signs, one on a page, and insert each one into a sheet protector. I then put the three sheet protectors into a folder with prongs and this way the students can drop the books they want to share with their partners right into the sheet protector pockets.

    Thanks for the great idea! If you'd like a picture, send me your email address.

    --Laura DiPietro

  3. This sounds like a great idea Laura! Thanks for sharing with us. This really does solve the problem of transporting the books to partner time. And, the kids must feel so grown up walking over to partners with a big folder full of books and purposes to reread.

  4. Hi Sarah! Great post, I love the idea. I actually just shared this on a new blog I began (literally two hours ago) I referenced your blog and linked to it. I hope that is OK. Being new to the blogging world I am not sure of all the "rules." Please feel free to let me know if there are any problems with this!

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