Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Ten Fun Ways to Read Books with a Partner

partner reading

Partner time, as my principal says, is the dessert to reading workshop. When you think about it, here we have our little guys learning all about books.      

For some kindergarteners, this can be an entirely new experience for them. We teach them pretty quickly how to pick out books, how to hold books and how to read books in an appropriate way for that child.

Reading workshop is big stuff we are doing in school.

So when it is time for partner reading, it should feel like dessert! Yippee, I get to read with a friend!  Partner reading should feel play-like and full of joy!
reading partner anchor chart
Soon they learn, not only do they get to read to a friend but they get to teach their partner something too!  This should feel like a win-win time for everyone!

Although this time of day can be fun for students, reading with a partner has many benefits to a beginning reader. Rereading just right books facilitates decoding, fluency, meaning making, new word learning and deeper understanding of the text.

When I first started teaching partnerships, I was implementing the Daily Five curriculum. The daily five has a strong format structure on how to get kids to do partner reading. The students loved it, they could read with a friend, and it was a social event. I thought my partnerships were going great too.
partner reading

Years later, when I went to a Teacher College summer institute, I realized that I could be doing my reading partnerships in a more powerful way. My kids were loving books and having a blast reading them, but I wasn’t always teaching them things to do with their little books. I realized from that workshop that partnerships can be a time when students are practicing specific strategies that they are working on at reading workshop time. Yes, kids go off and read, like before, but now I start with a quick mini-lesson that teaches them something.

Last year I went to an excellent presentation by Cheryl Tyler. She shared a menu of items that partners can do together during the workshop time. My students loved using this tool, it gave them a focus and increased reading engagement.
laminate a file folder and velcro icons on

10 Fun Ways to Read with a Partner 

Shared Reading
Get a popsicle stick if it’s my book I get to be the teacher and read it to my partner

Guided Reading
I get to be the teacher; I give a book introduction to my partner and they read the book to me

He Said She Said
Make a speech bubble you are reading a level C book and you put the speech bubble above
the character (what is the mom really thinking or saying)

On Stage
You pick a part of the book and act it out (drama highest level of comprehension)

Guess My Book
You have three or four books and you put them out in front of you, and you do a retell your partner has to guess the book

5 Finger Retell
Read the book together one partner touches the other partners fingers to retell it

Tricky Tricky Teacher
They cover up a word, and the partner tries to figure it out

See Saw 
I read a page, you read a page

American Idol
Let's sing the book

My Favorite Part 
Read your favorite part of the book to your partner, your partner shares their favorite part

click here for partner icons

Joyfully yours in reread favorite little books with a friend,



  1. Oh you are awesome, thank you for sharing these! My kinders struggle with partner reading, and I realize it's because I haven't made it fun enough!

  2. Courtney,
    I am glad you will be able to use them. You will see a big difference...let me know how it goes! Melissa

  3. I just want to say thank you so much for all of your posts! They are so helpful as I am too teaching reading and writing workshop to kindergartners. All the things you have made and shared are very much appreciated!

  4. Lisa,
    Thank you so much for the comment. I am so glad you are using things I share!!! Have a wonderful long weekend! Melissa

  5. Thank you I have found lots of fun ideas on your blog, thanks for sharing. D

  6. D,
    Your welcome! Have a wonderful weekend. Melissa

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  8. Melissa,
    I have been following your work since my first year of teaching and have been so inspired by all the growth that happens in your classroom. I have tried to implement many of the strategies and lessons you use with your kids, but always run into the problem of time. Can your share what your schedule looks like in a day? This is probably in a post somewhere but I cannot seem to find it. Thank you so much for all the work you contribute and change you are making for us all :)

  9. How do the children "sing" the book/story? Do they have to agree on a tune first? Just sing random melody? Just wondering how that really turns out?

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