Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies, or PALS, is a scientifically-based peer-mediated instructional program developed by researchers at Vanderbilt University.

PALS research employed multiple studies that incorporated randomized field trials, resulting in the highest standards of research-based evidence. The strategic efficacy of PALS has been studied and evaluated over the past 35 years through close collaboration with hundreds of teachers to ensure that PALS’ methods are feasible and effective in the classroom. With PALS, every student in the class is paired, and each pair consists of one student who is academically stronger than the other. PALS sessions vary from 20 to 45 minutes in duration 2 to 4 times a week. During these sessions, the students in a pair take turns as tutor and tutee while working on structured activities that introduce grade-relevant skills and hones in on the difficulties each pair of students may be experiencing. The pairing creates 10 to 15 instructional experiences in a given classroom. Each PALS manual provides you with all the information you need to implement PALS in your classroom, including teacher-directed scripted lessons and student materials. As a supplement to the core curriculum, PALS fits well with a variety of instructional approaches, and allows teaches to address a broader range of student developmental areas.

Begin using PALS by arranging a one day training workshop with our experienced trainers.

In practice, PALS has proven to be effective in the classroom for many reasons, a few of which are highlighted below.

  1. Teachers can target students who need more support.
  2. Lessons are scripted, providing teachers with guidelines on how to introduce activities and engage efficiently with students.
  3. Routines are simple, efficient, and remain the same throughout the program, creating a sense of familiarity.
  4. The PALS structure provides for positive and productive peer interactions.
  5. Paired activities create an opportunity for lower-achieving students to assume an integral role in a valued activity.
  6. Students stay on task.

Blueprints Certified:

Meeting the highest standards of evidence through independent review by the nation’s top scientists.The Institute of Education Sciences’ What Works Clearinghouse 2012 Intervention Report findings stated that PALS effectiveness “was found to have potentially positive effects on comprehension for adolescent learners.”

Key Implementation Criteria:

  1. Whole class instruction.
  2. All teacher-directed lessons prepared as scripts to help convey information to the class.
  3. Peer-mediated instruction in assigned pairs.
  4. Teacher Lessons and Pair Practice are the two major components of the PALS Math intervention.

Program Skills:

  1. Number recognition
  2. Comparing numbers
  3. Addition and subtraction concepts
  4. Place value
  5. Missing addends
  6. Multiplication and division concepts
  7. Concepts and applications – Includes a variety of topics from counting to fractions to word problems.

Benefits:

  1. Motivates students to be better at math.
  2. Involves all students.
  3. Gives lower-performing students an opportunity to play an important role in a valued activity.
  4. Fosters positive and productive peer interactions.

Student Rewards / Recognition:

Each PALS Math session requires a Smiley Sheet for each pair which is used as a motivation strategy throughout the PALS lessons.

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Watch PALS Math Video:

Key Implementation Criteria:

  1. Whole class instruction.
  2. All teacher-directed lessons prepared as scripts to help convey information to the class.
  3. Peer-mediated instruction in assigned pairs.

Program Skills:

  1. Phonemic Awareness – Teacher directed Sound Play focuses on syllables, identifying first sounds in words, rhyming, blending and segmenting, and identifying last sounds in words.
  2. Decoding –  What Sound, What Word, Sound Boxes, Reading Sentences, Reading Books.
  3. Start reading sight words and decode-able words in connected text.
  4. Gain reading fluency and word recognition through timed reading, self- monitoring, partner reading and the Speed Game.
  5. Builds upon fluency and comprehension skills through 4 activities including partner reading, retell, paragraph shrinking, and prediction relay.
  6. Additional High School Skills – taking notes, partner reading, paragraph shrinking, prediction relay, check writing, reading for information

Benefits:

  1. Increases students’ opportunities to read.
  2. Motivates students to be better readers.
  3. Involves all students and includes tasks that all students can perform successfully.
  4. Teachers can target students that need more support.
  5. Gives lower-performing students an opportunity to play an important role in a valued activity.
  6. Enhances peer social relationships through fostering positive and productive peer interactions.
  7. Promotes greater student achievement in reading than more conventional reading strategies by promoting fluent reading of text through repeated reading, teacher modeling, and self-monitoring of reading progress.

PALS Reading International Reach:

PALS Aprendiendo en Parejas (AP) disponible para grados segundo a sexto.

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