Cross-Age Peer Paired Reading is an effective reading intervention that been in place in Bishop Murphy Memorial School for the past few years.

Cross – Age Peer Paired Reading is an effective reading intervention that has been in place in Bishop Murphy Memorial School for the past few years. We are very lucky to have the support of Fermoy library staff who encouraged this venture from the outset. Books are provided for all those children involved. The library is an ideal venue for launching the programme as well as for the presentation of certificates and medals at the end of each six week session. It is heartening to see library staff, school staff and pupils working together as a team to promote the improvement of literacy skills at the school.

At present pupils from 5th and 3rd classes are taking part in the six week programme. They have completed two weeks and have four weeks to go. Both tutors and tutees are enjoying the experience and learning from each other. It is uplifting to see them using their dictionaries to look up difficult words and discussing and analysing their stories. The participants are extremely proud of their folders, arranging them in neat piles after each session. Each pupil is working hard hoping to get a prize for best tutor, best tutee or best book review.

Attendance is a key issue in a programme like this and to ensure that each pupil has a partner every day we have enlisted five substitutes from 6th class. In the event of absent tutors or tutees, sixth class subs take their places. The adults involved in the present programme are Miss Coughlan (5th class), Mr. Grumbridge (3rd class), Mrs. Dillon (Learning Support), Celia and Mairead (SNAs) as well as Mr. O’Donoghue (Principal) who drops in every so often to see how the programme is progressing.

Cross – Age Peer – Paired Reading is cost effective and utilises school staff to encourage the participating pupils. However managing the programme is time consuming and requires dedication and commitment from the coordinator and other staff involved. Each pupil has to be assessed and matched with a suitable partner. Tutors need to be trained and folders for each set of partners have to be compiled. Each pupil is provided with a book mark outlining the rudiments of good literacy. As well as reading it is vitally important for the participants to comprehend what they read. Reading for meaning is the key!

Keith Topping has pointed out the advantages of Cross – Age Peer – Paired Reading

(1) Improved reading ability for tutors and tutees
(2) Improved social behaviours for both tutors and tutees