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Boost Fluency, Accuracy, and Self-Esteem

It's a Bright Idea round-up. Enjoy this post from earlier this year! I work with struggling readers in grades 2-5, so I know it can be a challenge to keep these learners engaged and enthusiastic while practicing Fluency and Accuracy.

Today, I'm sharing my secret weapon: The Partner Game!

How to Play The Partner Game

The important part of this game is the routine. Take a few 5 minute sessions to teach how to play this game, and then use gentle reminders to review how to play. You will need partners and word cards. Any word cards will do. :)

  1. Ask your partner, "Would you like to go first, or would you like me to go first?" The first player is the reader, and the partner is the listener.
  2. The reader looks at the top card on the deck, and reads the word aloud. 
  3. If the reader is correct, the listener says, "Good job," and their turn is over. 
  4. If the reader is incorrect, the listener says, "Try again." If the reader says the incorrect word three times, the listener tells them the word, and their turn is over.
  5. Switch roles and repeat, using the next word in the stack.
  6. Each partner *must* make at least 3 mistakes. These can be on purpose. :)
  7. If neither player knows the word, they work together to decode the word.
  8. After a few minutes, collect the cards, and move along to your next activity.
I play The Partner Game twice a week in my remediation groups with grades 2-5, and the most powerful part of this is the expectation that everyone will make mistakes. Sometimes, these mistakes are on purpose. The listener has to listen carefully to make sure the reader says the word correctly. The positive benefits also include an increased self-esteem in my struggling readers, because we are actively witnessing mistakes from our partner. It helps them learn to take risks, because there are zero negative consequences to making a mistake. This part may require gentle reminders. :)

Visit some of these amazing teacher-authors for more Bright Ideas!

For other ideas for struggling readers, please check out my other posts. Let me know how they work out for you, too! Be amazing today...


  1. Thanks for the Partner game! My kiddos need to learn the social skills, so we'll be doing this with loads of guidance until they get the hang of it!


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