Comprehension, Oral Reading Fluency, Phonemic Awareness, Phonics & Decoding, Vocabulary
Tier I,II

25-35 mins (2-4x per week)

Target Student

Struggling readers who have deficits in decoding, comprehension, and fluency


Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies (PALS) is a peer-tutoring program. According to the developer's website, it is designed to be incorporated into the existing curriculum with the goal of improving the academic performance of children with diverse academic needs. Students partner with peers, alternating the role of tutor while reading aloud, listening, and providing feedback in various structured activities.


This is a multi-component program: Kindergarten: Phonological Awareness, Decoding; 1st grade: Decoding, Word Recognition, Fluency; 2nd-6th grade: Fluency, Comprehension; High School: Fluency, Comprehension


PALS routines are based on partner reading, retell, paragraph shrinking, prediction relay, and repeated reading.  PALS materials include: scripted lessons, teacher-directed decodable worksheets, and decoding lesson worksheets; also uses available classroom reading materials (e.g., anthology from a core reading program, children’s books)


Calhoon, M. B., Al Otaiba, S., Greenberg, D., King, A., & Avalos, A. (2007). Improving reading skills in predominantly Hispanic Title 1 first-grade classrooms: The promise of Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 21(4), 261–272.


Deshler, D. D., Palincsar, A. S., Biancarosa, G., & Nair, M. (2007). Informed choices for struggling adolescent readers: A research-based guide to instructional programs and practices. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.


Eckert, T. L., Codding, R. M., Truckenmiller, A. J., & Rheinheimer, J. L. (2009). Improving children’s fluency in reading, mathematics, spelling, and writing: A review of evidence-based academic interventions. In A. Akin-Little, S. G. Little, M. A. Bray, & T. J. Kehle (Eds.), Behavioral interventions in schools: Evidence-based positive strategies (pp. 111–124). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.


Fuchs, D., & Fuchs, L. S. (2007). Increasing strategic reading comprehension with peer-assisted learning activities. In D. McNamara (Ed.), Reading comprehension strategies: Theories, interventions, and technologies (pp. 175–199). New York: Psychology Press. 


McMaster, K. L., Fuchs, D., Fuchs, L. S., & Compton, D. L. (2005). Responding to nonresponders: An experimental field trial of identification and intervention methods. Exceptional Children, 71(4), 445–463.

Research Summary
Related Resources

PALS Webinar

Fidelity Implementation Checklist

IRIS Center Module (Grades K-1)

IRIS Center Module (Grades 2-6)

IRIS Center Module (Grades 7-12)

YouTube Video

Available Training

To provide instruction on PALS and its implementation in your school, a one-day training workshop at your site is recommended. Depending on the workshop you choose, the presenter's fee is estimated at $1,500 plus travel expenses. All workshop participants need a PALS teacher's manual which can be purchased from Vanderbilt University prior to the training workshop. See website for more information.

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