In the past I have posted about one of my favorite education strategies to increase fluency and comprehension. Peer Assisted Learning Strategies (PALS) developed by researchers at Vanderbilt University (http://kc.vanderbilt.edu/pals/index.html) is an educational strategy that was developed to support fluency and comprehension in grades K-12th (of course, it looks different across the grades). I have been supporting schools in the implementation of PALS and I know from the data and observation that is one of the most effective strategies with the most versatility to adopt and embed in regular education classrooms, dual language two way programs, and special education programs. Reading Rockets is non-profit organization that disseminates strategies in reading has just posted a great summary of one of the aspects of PALS and I wanted to share it with my readers. Here is the link to their summary and resources surrounding it. So click here http://www.readingrockets.org/strategies/paragraph_shrinking. If you are curious of the whole approach Vanderbilt university also has online professional development modules that are wonderful and provide you with all the research, how-to, resources and student handouts to adopt this strategy in English and Spanish.
Here are the top 15 reasons as to why I feel is so highly effective!!!
1. It engages students in ACTIVE LEARNING vs passive learning.
2. It enriches your core or basic reading instruction.
3. It embeds differentiate instruction as a default of how the strategy is implemented.
4. It is a strategy that uses real books!
5. It is a strategy that can be used in dual language programs because the students can use the strategy in English and Spanish (or any another language).
6. It addresses the 6th area of effective literacy instruction – oral language development!! (August and Shannahan, 2006).
7. It can be used as a Tier 2 or Tier 3 intervention if you are doing Response to Intervention (RTI) or Multi-tier System of Support (MTSS)
8. It is easy to monitor progress and complexity as the students use the strategy.
9. It can use fiction and non-fiction texts so that you can address Common Core State Standards in your classroom.
10. It requires students to use multiple modalities- oral, visual, tactile, kinesthetic,
11. It encourages students to work as teams!
12. It encourages social interaction for English language learners in the use of interpersonal and academic language.
13. Students Love it!!!
14. It encourages the teachers to facilitate learning rather than stand in the front of the classroom and lecture.
15. Allows teachers to capitalize on time and work with students who may need extra help while others are actively engaged in learning!!!.
16. It uses principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
Its a win-win for teachers and students!
Claudia is a Full Professor of Education and Chair of the Education Program at Lasell University. Claudia is a researcher, consultant, and teacher educator committed to addressing the needs of bilingual students who are learning English and have a disability.