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Paired Reading

Paired reading has been proven to improve children’s reading ability provided it is handled correctly. Paired reading is a technique that promotes enjoyment of reading, while at the same time developing comprehension skills. This happens because the reading flows without interruption, allowing the child to enjoy and fully understand the text.

As well as reading, this time spent together has other benefits for your children ie this is quality time spent one to one and will encourage good open communication between you and your child.

How to get started

  • Choose a time that will suit you both, and try to stick to this time every day
  • Choose a quiet place where you will both be comfortable
  • 10 minutes a day is sufficient for reading

Let your child select a book

  • Make sure that the book they choose is suitable for their age and ability. You can ensure this by presenting a selection of books pre- selected by you.
  • Look at the cover and the back of the book and discuss the things you see there. Why did you choose this book? What does the picture on the front tell you?”
  • Get the child interested in the book before you even open it, ask questions e.g. “What do you think the book is about.” “Is it going to be about something that could really happen?”

How it works

  • Sit beside your child with the book between you.
  • Read the words aloud together and try to keep to the same pace.
  • If you come across a word the child doesn’t know, just say the word and keep reading.
  • Pre-arrange a signal such as tapping a table, if the child wants to read alone.
  • If he finds it difficult he can tap again and you start reading again.
  • Stop regularly and ask questions: What do you think happens next? Would you do that?  Did that make the character sad/happy?
  • As the child becomes more confident you can ease off on how much you read, letting them take the lead.


Things to do

  • Do this everyday
  • Make sure you stick to the time you both agreed on as much as possible
  • Always support your child.
  • Never get annoyed or give out to your child about their reading
  • Try and keep this a stress free time
  • Turn off the television/phone
  • Avoid any interruptions



When your children learned to walk, you started them off by holding both their hands as they took their first steps. They were soon able to manage with you just holding one hand. After that they could walk and run all on their own, but always turned back for your help if the path was difficult. Paired reading is offering the same kind of support in the beginning you are totally there, gradually pulling back as they do it for themselves. However you are always there to support if it gets tough.