9 – Paired Speed Algorithm

Paired Speed Algorithm

Besides the 4-3-2, we can build fluency with the Paired Speed Read Aloud or Paired Speed Algorithm. In this meaningful input and output activity, students can see clear fluency improvement just after 2 minutes of work. As always with fluency activities, the key communicative principle is this: students know 100% of the words and grammar in the text. This ensures that students improve fluency and automaticity with language that they already know, instead of slowly learning new language.

Continuing with our theme of sports, coaching, and personal growth, let’s look at a story and PDF entitled: “Don’t Quit; Get Grit,” which talks about the power of persistence. This story is from ReadOasis.com, (and the author of this chapter is the Editor of ReadOasis). As students begin, they read the following directions, and the teacher can preview some of the new or hard words.

With fluency practice, we use language that we already know.

  1. In pairs, Partner A reads out loud from “A” for 60 seconds. Partner B listens.
  2. When you hear the alarm, stop reading. Mark the place where you stop!
  3. Partner A, repeat steps 1-2. How many MORE words did you read the second time? Answer: ______.
  4. Partner B do steps 1-3.

With Paired Speed Read Aloud, students usually read between 10 and 30 more words on the second pass. After experiencing this quick improvement, teachers can give feedback: “Look at that. You improved your English in just 2 minutes. Impressive!”

Because the text is short, students usually overlap when they take turns. Partner A will read from Section A, and sometimes read into Section B. And when both partners are finished, there is often some text left over at the end. Because the text is not finished, and because we are focusing on fluency, we can now go right into the related activity, “Listen Faster Again.”


Dr. Joseph Poulshock

Dr. Joseph Poulshock works as Professor of English Linguistics in the Faculty of International Communication at Senshu University.