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Date: On-demand

*This on-demand workshop is a recording from an online workshop offered on Friday April 16, 2021 5:00 - 6:00 pm MST 

Presented By: Dr. Ellen Knell and Shin Chi Fame Kao

Dr. Ellen Knell

Associate Director for Curriculum and Instruction, Center for Language Studies, College of Humanities, Brigham Young University

Shin Chi Fame Kao

Director of Curriculum & Coordinator, Utah Chinese Bridge Program L2TReC, University of Utah


Reading fluently in a foreign or second language can be challenging. Past research has shown that reading fluency can influence word recognition and comprehension, but few action research projects have examined reading fluency.   This session will report the results of a recently published study (Journal of Immersion and Content-Based Education) that investigated the effects of timed, repeated readings and peer assisted learning strategies (PALS) with Chinese Foreign Language (CFL) learners. Results showed that the PALS group scored significantly better on tests of reading fluency, character recognition, and comprehension than the control group. In addition, a survey that examined students’ attitudes towards literacy revealed that the PALS students reported significantly higher levels of confidence and enjoyment of reading. 

Session participants will learn how to develop and teach the PALS intervention and how to situate reading fluency within a comprehensive literacy program. 

Initially attendees will learn some research results about the importance of reading fluency instruction in L2/FL settings. This will be followed by a demonstration (using classroom videos) of language students implementing PALS reading fluency practice.  Finally, participants will work in pairs to adapt the PALS reading fluency procedures and materials to their particular instructional settings.


Reading fluency practice is an important instructional pillar of most monolingual English literacy classrooms, but it is rarely the focus of instruction for students learning to read a second or foreign language.  Improvements in reading fluency can improve students’ word recognition and reading comprehension outcomes, making it a desirable element of literacy instruction. Research has shown that students can work with a peer coach (classmate) to improve reading fluency (accurate words per minute). Teachers can train students to do peer assisted learning strategies (PALS) in order to coach fellow classmates.  The reading fluency PALS protocol includes repeated, timed readings, identification of errors, charting times and words, and comprehension checks.  Session participants will learn how to train students to do peer coaching and charting. The research for this action research project was done with Chinese dual language immersion students, but it is relevant for all language groups and contexts.


Participants can identify research results about the importance of reading fluency and its relation to word recognition and comprehension. 

Participants can demonstrate understanding of Peer Assisted Learning Strategies (PALS) research and its possible impact on students’ L2/FL literacy acquisition when implementing reading fluency instruction.

Participants can demonstrate ways to implement a reading fluency protocol to train students to do peer coaching and charts of reading fluency. 

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Last Updated: 4/26/21