Reading Pairs

The Problem

Erika works in a school in Tasmania. At the beginning of her Changemaker journey, she thought it was unacceptable that students were not reading at the levels expected for their age. She believes in a school where all students are confident readers, but her reality at the start of 2016 was that 47% of her students were below or ‘at risk’ readers. The root cause she decided to tackle was that kids weren’t reading everyday.

Erika’s Solution

Erika implemented a change project – ‘Reading Pairs’. Her teacher aide read to five volunteer Grade 5 students every day for five weeks as a test. The TA read a levelled reader at the students’ level and then each of the students read the same book back to her. Erika’s trial was a resounding success, and so she ran the program with her whole class..

All of the students in her Grade 4 and 5 class were paired up. Poor readers were paired with good readers and they read to each other the same way as the trial group read with the TA every day. During Reading Pairs, kids were taught to sit side by side with their buddy reader and to follow along with the reading. They learnt to count to three in their head before offering a decoding strategy.

Erika’s Impact

At the beginning of the year, five of Erika’s Grade 4s were at risk, and now only one student is an at risk reader. Seven of her Grade 5s were at risk, whereas now only three are at risk.

13 students have moved up a combined 82 levels in one year. Super impressive, Erika.   

We loved this story..

“One Grade 5 student was reading at Level 8 in March, and in five months of Reading Pairs he is now reading at Level 21. He now loves reading so much that when the choice on a Friday is to do Reading Pairs or quiet drawing, he always chooses Reading Pairs.”

Like the idea?

Erika would love your support for Reading Pairs, or for you to start a similar program in your school, and she’d love to hear about any ideas you have or lend a hand where she can. Shoot an email to if you want to get in touch with Erika and we can connect you. Feel free to cheer her on in the comments below as well.

#WhatChangeLooksLike #ECStories #EduChange

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