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Reading Partnerships

‘Partnering’ in this sense is the pairing up of two children reading the same book. It has been found that when you team up children of comparable level and ability for reading they can make more progress.

Partnering immediately and effectively brings up the engagement levels of entire classrooms of children. Children grasp materials faster -and it’s more fun!

One reason partnering is so vital is that it gives the individual child someone to work with, increasing participation and dissuading a child from just ‘looking’ rather than being engaged. Children tend to become more extroverted when partnered and often begin to take some responsibility for their fellow learners.

If an educator just lets a child sit there, without guidance, his or her attention often tends to wander around in the total ‘significance’ of it all. There is no one to ‘bounce ideas off’; there is no one to help with judging how one thing is more or less important than another. Real partnering, with the proper control, effectively pulls children right up out of their vagueness, helps to establish what is really important, and gives them some responsibility right from the start.

Another reason this can work is that a person who is reading is mainly taking things in -ideas, words, chapter after chapter of information. Day after day the words go in, in, in. This tends to put him or her at the receiving end of a lot of ideas.

In partnering, the person can balance this with some outgoing activity. In the H.E.A.R.T. programme, partners are assigned at the beginning of the tournament and they tend to remain assigned through to the completion of the tournament. One tries not to allow them to drift from one partner to another. The whole essence of partnering is to get two children to work together, to assist each other and take responsibility for getting each other successfully through the programme.

Teacher Responsibility

The teacher -whether in a school setting or at home or in a study group of some kind- is responsible for assigning partners and should take care to team up children of comparable reading level and abilities as much as possible. In this way both partners make the best progress.

Partnering a very fast reader with a slow reader should be avoided, if possible, as it can be frustrating and upsetting to both. Ideally, one matches them up according to their capabilities. Partnering goes smoothly and produces best results when this is done.

In some rare instances it may be necessary to reassign partners who have been incorrectly paired. But it should not be necessary if care was taken in teaming them up correctly to begin with.

Otherwise, once assigned, partners work together through to successful completion of the tournament.

The Partner’s Responsibilities

The partner helps his or her partner, often reading aloud to each other, helping to look up difficult words in a good dictionary, and listening to sentences when looking up words.

Partnering actions are carried out with good manners and so on, but manners are not enough on their own. Children who get firmly and accurately challenged by partners and then come to grasp something that they hadn’t understood, feel great. They have really accomplished something. They know that they know the books being read.

Try partnering and watch children become engaged with reading.


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