Reading partners is not a new concept; many literacy experts have written about this concept and offered best practices for implementing them into classroom life, including Smokey Daniels. Though I don’t implement them as much as I’d like to or probably should, I do love watching students in action when time and opportunity present themselves to do so.
Recently, one of my classes had the opportunity to work with a reading partner. I gave students three choices:
- Read alone (I try to respect those who are introverts and work better alone).
- Read with a partner.
- Read in a “triangle” (group of three).
I had taken a copy of “Raymond’s Run” and marked in up into three sections. After reading the first three sections together with a wonderful audio rendition of the story and completing our reading reflections graphic organizer, I gave students the option to finish reading the story alone, with a partner, or in a group of three. I provided these general guidelines for working with reading partners in addition to the fundamental principles of being an active and respectful listener/participant. We also talked about the rule of “knee to knee, face to face” talk meaning we were actively facing each other as we read so that we could focus and hear each other.
I was truly blown away by how focused and engaged students were whether they chose to work solo, with a reading buddy, or in a group of three. Their positive energy, their conversations about what they were reading, and how they encouraged each other truly brought joy to my teacher heart!
How do you incorporate time and space for reading partners in your Language Arts classroom?