I often have both English proficient and English Language Learners read texts to each other in my classroom. I’ve done it for several reasons — it promotes accountability because I can see and hear students doing it, working in partners tends to be more engaging for many, students can practice prosody (reading with feeling), and it prompts students to ask for help in pronouncing words that are new to them.

For me, at least, those are plenty enough good reasons to do oral reading in class.

However, I missed a very big obvious one that was highlighted in a post by literacy expert Timothy Shanahan this morning. I’ve long respected his work, and I would strongly encourage you to read his piece, Fluency Instruction for Older Kids, Really?

Here’s an excerpt:


Every time I think I know a lot, a reminder comes along prompting me to reflect on how much I really don’t…

A caveat: This kind of oral reading is very different from the terrible practice of having English Language Learners read loud individually to the entire class. I have an entire “Best” list devoted to why that’s so bad, The Best Posts On Students Reading Aloud Individually In ESL Class.

What’s been your experience having students read aloud to each other?