Peer Assisted Learning Strategies for Reading (PALS) is a whole class intervention designed to improve children’s oral reading fluency and reading comprehension. The version of the programme evaluated here is PALS-UK, based on the PALS grades 2-6 programme, with materials and training adapted for the UK and modernised by Dr Emma Vardy and Dr Helen Breadmore. Pupils work in pairs, taking it in turn as coach and reader as they engage with four activities: partner reading, re-tell, paragraph shrinking and prediction relay. Sessions last 35 minutes, conducted three-times-a-week over 20 weeks. The logic model predicts that repeated reading with peer feedback will support all aspects of fluency: accuracy, automaticity and prosody, while the tasks of re-tell, paragraph shrinking and prediction relay will support reading comprehension. Taken together, the intervention has the potential to develop pupils’ fluency, self-efficacy in reading, motivation for reading, reading comprehension and reading attainment.


This study is funded by the Education Endowment Foundation. The evaluation comprises impact, implementation (process) and cost components. The impact study design is a two-arm, stratified and cluster-randomised trial, with schools allocated to intervention and control arms, at random, on a 1:1 intervention to control basis. Pupils nested in schools allocated to the intervention group will receive PALS-UK; those in the control group will follow a ‘business as usual’ approach to the teaching of reading.

The primary outcome is a measure of reading attainment derived from the New PiRA reading test. All pupils will be asked to complete a baseline PiRA questionnaire structured around content domains, such as vocabulary, comprehension, inference and prediction pre-, and post-intervention. In addition, secondary outcomes will be measures of oral reading fluency, reading comprehension, reading self-efficacy and motivation for reading.

The evaluation also includes a mixed methods implementation and process evaluation.

Participating schools have been recruited between February and June 2022 and randomisation was completed in September 2022. An evaluation report will be published by the end of June 2024.

Impact and cost evaluation: Stephen Morris and Sandor Gellen

Implementation and process evaluation: Cathy Lewin and Steph Ainsworth

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