Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies (PALS)

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					               Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies (PALS)

Category: Language/Reading
Grade Level: Grade 2-6 (Extensions
available for K, Grade 1 and High
                                                   which time students work in
1. What is the purpose of Peer-                    tutor-tutee dyads
Assisted Learning Strategies?                  -   pairs are composed of one
PALS is an instructional strategy                  higher-performing student and
developed to enhance students’ literacy            one lower-performing student
development and beliefs about reading          -   tutor-tutee roles are reciprocal
within a peer mediated framework.
                                            3) Teams and Points
2. With whom can it be used?                    - PALS uses a motivational system
Originally developed for grades 2                  in which each tutor-tutee pair is
through 6, PALS now has extensions                 assigned to one of two class
available for Kindergarten, Grade 1 and            teams
High School. PALS can be used with              - teams receive points for
children of various ages and varying               completing reading activities and
reading abilities.                                 demonstrating proper tutoring
3. What is the format for using Peer-           - every 4 weeks pairs and teams
Assisted Learning Strategies?                      are recreated
Through structured activities, students
work in tutor-tutee pairs. The activities   Each PALS session is comprised of 3
require frequent verbal interaction and     activities:
feedback between tutors and tutees, as      1) partner reading
well as reciprocity of tutoring roles.          – designed to improve reading
                                                     fluency and accuracy
 Elementary PALS:                              – each student within a dyad reads
1) Training Sessions                                 aloud for 5 minutes, with the
    - classroom teacher conducts 6 to                higher-performing student
        10 scripted lessons, ranging from            reading first and the lower-
        30 to 60 minutes each                        performing student rereading the
    - training sessions involve brief                passage
        teacher presentations, student          – tutor points out word-reading
        recitation of information and                errors
        application of principles, and          – tutee retells the passage at end of
        teacher feedback                             activity
2) Pairing Sessions                         2) paragraph shrinking
    - three 35 minute PALS sessions             – designed to develop
        are conducted each week during               comprehension through
                                                     summarization and main idea
     –   students read orally and identify    First Grade PALS
         the main idea of each paragraph     First grade PALS also uses the tutor-
     –   tutor guides idea identification    tutee dyadic relationship and the
         through established questions       motivational team approach. There are
     –   tutee then summarizes main idea     two versions of PALS for first grade:
         in 10 words or less                 PALS-Only and PALS+Fluency. Both
                                             programs are similar in make up, with
 3) prediction relay                         the exception that PALS+Fluency
    – designed to develop and                includes activities designed to enhance
       automate students’ abilities to       reading fluency.
       formulate and (dis)confirm
       predictions                           Grade One PALS-Only and
    – tutee predicts story content, reads    PALS+Fluency differ from the
       aloud, confirms or disconfirms        elementary and high school versions in
       hypothesis, and summarizes the        that:
       main idea
    – tutor corrects tutee’s reading         1) each PALS session is started with
       errors, judges whether prediction        teacher instruction
       was reasonable and if not, asks       2) the activities are more suited to the
       for another prediction                   reading level of grade 1 students
                                                - 4 Sounds and Words activities
 High School PALS:                             - Partner Reading, similar to the
 The High School extension of PALS is               advanced PALS activity, is
 similar to the elementary version in that          introduced during the 4th week of
 it also uses the tutor-tutee dyadic                PALS
 relationship, the 3 PALS activities and
 the motivational team approach.              Kindergarten PALS
                                             Kindergarten PALS also uses tutor-tutee
 It varies in that:                          dyadic relationships. Similar to Grade 1
 1) the dyads are mixed up more              PALS, the kindergarten version also uses
     frequently, often on a daily basis      different activities that are more suited to
 2) the motivational system incorporates     beginning readers.
     a more structured adult-oriented
     work theme and allows students to       1) focus is on phonological awareness,
     earn PALS dollars that can be used         sound-letter correspondence,
     to purchase desirable donated items        decoding and fluency
 3) reading material covers expository,      2) only two activities are used:
     rather than narrative, text and            - Sound Play (addressing rhyming,
     involves content that is more                 isolation of first sounds, ending
     applicable to the students’ lives             sounds, etc.)
                                                - Sounds and Words (addresses
4. In what types of settings should             Remedial and Special Education,
Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies be            22(1), 15-21.
PALS may be used within the regular          Resources:
classroom with all students participating.   1. Fuchs, D., Fuchs, L.S., Mathes, P.G.,
                                                & Simmons, D.C. (1996). Peer-
5. To what extent has research shown            assisted learning strategies in
Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies to            reading: A manual. Unpublished
be useful?                                      manuscript, Vanderbuilt University
Research has shown PALS to be an                at Nashville, TN.
effective reading intervention program.
Improvements in students’ reading            Reviewed by: Laura-Lynn Stewart
fluency and comprehension have been
noted for learning disabled, low
achieving and average achieving
students. With regards to the PALS
extensions, High School PALS has been
shown to effectively promote literacy
among seriously reading-delayed
adolescents. Kindergarten PALS
research has shown positive
improvements in phonological
awareness and significant increases in
the children’s reading competence
overall. Research on the First Grade
PALS extension is pending.

1. Fuchs, L.S., Fuchs, D., Kazdan, S.
   (1999). Effects of peer-assisted
   learning strategies on high school
   students with serious reading
   problems. Remedial and Special
   Education, 20(5), 309-318.
2. Fuchs, D., Fuchs, L.S., Mathes, P.G.,
   & Simmons, D.C. (1997). Peer-
   assisted learning strategies: Making
   classrooms more responsive to
   diversity. American Educational
   Research Journal, 34, 174-206.
3. Fuchs, D., Fuchs, L.S., Thompson,
   A., Svenson, E. et. al. (2001). Peer-
   assisted learning strategies in
   reading: Extensions for kindergarten,
   first grade, and high school.

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