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PAIR Reading

PAIR Read Aloud

Case Study

School & Home Integrated model

Tiona Raad (Assistant Principal, Caringbah North PS)

In 2016 (without PAIR) 37% of Kinder students reached or exceeded the state benchmark while in 2017 (with the introduction of PAIR) 84% reached or exceeded the state benchmark (with one term still to go) !!

Situational Analysis

Caringbah North Public School, with an enrolment of 555 students, is situated in the southern suburbs of Sydney. The school has two Opportunity Classes, for gifted and talented students, providing an enriched and extended curriculum. 26% of the students are from an English as an Additional Language/Dialect (EAL/D) background.

The school vision is: Quality Teaching, Quality Learning, Quality People for the 21st century.

The school delivers 21st century learning focused on developing effective communicators who are collaborative, creative and critical thinkers. Developing high-level skills in literacy and numeracy, with a commitment to focus on the individual needs of students, is a school priority. The school is committed to whole school practices that foster student wellbeing and promotes inclusive community partnerships. Student leadership is fostered, along with a pro-active approach to student wellbeing and ‘positive behaviour for learning’ (PBL).

The school provides many opportunities for additional educational experiences to cater for all aspects of child development including band, dance, choir, chess, debating, public speaking, and representative sport.

The school has a committed and enthusiastic staff and fosters strong parent and community partnerships.​

Parent Assisted Immersive Reading (P.A.I.R.) is a breakthrough, at-home read-aloud program that accelerates reading readiness in children during their first year of schooling. The program involves parents regularly reading aloud to their child while at the same time engaging them in meaningful conversation about the book. As the texts have vital prompts, tips and questions embedded facilitating parents to effectively enrich each reading session, CNPS chose the program as an introduction to our homework schedule.

Prior to implementation

Prior to the introduction of PAIR at CNPS, a meeting was held with the teachers that would be on Kindergarten in the upcoming year and we engaged in professional discussions whilst investigating the PAIR boxes. Becoming familiar with the material was an integral part of the successful implementation process for our school. Teachers began to understand the value of the program and how it would benefit the students and in turn were both invested and committed to its success. With the support of the Principal, additional funds were provided to purchase enough boxes for all classes.

At the beginning of the school year, teachers met to assess the literacy and numeracy levels of students in scheduled individual appointments. We utilised this time to briefly explain the introduction of the PAIR program to the parents and extended a personal invitation for them to attend a parent information session, combined with a RSVP. We placed special emphasis on the importance of attendance at the session as it would be presented by the creator of the program, John Walters. This proved to be hugely successful with 90% of families attending the meeting. Excitement was generated and positive discussions were developing in the playground within the school community ahead of the first books being sent home.


The PAIR book boxes have several sets of books with the same title for students to interchange during the term receiving a new book at the beginning of each week. Students from one class would be reading a variety of different titles during the week. Although, during the investigation of the boxes, teachers decided to collate the reading material into class sets and distribute one title to the whole class each week. At the beginning of the week prior to sending the books home, the text would be presented to the class. The students would predict the content and pose a possible storyline. The books were then sent home in the provided brightly, coloured blue bags.

Whilst the parents are engaging with the text at home, the teachers are referencing the text each day using a modelled sentence, connecting the learning in the home with the learning in the classroom. Students that were not reading at home were going home and asking to read the book that was discussed at school that day. At the end of the week students would return the books and we would send out a new class text, delivered in the same way. This process continued for the first term, with students becoming increasingly confident in discussing the learning from home.

During the term students engaged in the explicit teaching of phonics, combined with phonemic awareness and knowledge of sight words. Literacy sessions provided opportunity for the transfer of these concepts into reading and writing.


The PAIR program has established positive attitudes towards reading during the first term, where students were excited to engage in homework that included the PAIR books. Daily reading routines were established that continued when formal home readers were sent home and the students have demonstrated a love of reading. Each week students were able to discuss the text with an increasing vocabulary, demonstrating both literal and inferred understanding. When texts were introduced in class, the students were able to generate ideas and feedback their understandings as this was a familiar process that they had been engaging with at home.

As the first term has a strong focus on reading strategies in class, by the time we sent home readers in term 2, students were ready to engage in the reading at home, this combined with regular established homework routines enabled a smooth transition into reading.

The current kindergarten results in reading have exceeded those from previous years with 85% of students achieving state benchmark levels with a term remaining in the year. It is projected that 90% of students will achieve this goal. Not only will we be continuing with the implementation of PAIR for the incoming Kindergarten group, we are looking to purchase additional ‘Purple Level’ books for our Year 1 students for the coming years.

Parent Feedback

‘PAIR READING has made the beginning of my son’s journey with literacy an absolute joy!
He loved listening to me read and explaining what he thought about the story, as well as answering the questions in the text.  I do believe that the way the comprehension is structured has impacted, very positively his ability and love of reading.’

‘My daughter has always enjoyed reading books and we read each night before bed. PAIR Reading books has taken this daily event to another level. Rather than just reading the books I now know how to explore the books at a deeper level. Reading books has moved to conversations about books. I feel so much more prepared to support her during all reading times and transferred this into questions after she reads books to me.’


Year to Year

In 2016 (without PAIR) 37% of students reached or exceeded the state benchmark while in 2017 (with the introduction of PAIR) 84% reached or exceeded the state benchmark.

When analysing reading levels in 2016, 60% of students failed to reach expected benchmark levels for like schools in accuracy and fluency in comparison to only 15% of the cohort in 2017.

Many students within the 2016 classes were not engaging in nightly reading which contributed to the below average results. The positive attitudes developed in reading, through establishing homework reading routines and the upskilling of parents through the use of the PAIR program, not only saw the 2017 groups achieve baseline benchmarks but exceed levels for the year above.

In 2017 (using PAIR), 65% of kindergarten students were achieving reading levels expected for the end of year one and 20% achieving year 2 levels.

These results were also reflective in the comprehension levels of students. They were able to provide a detail retell of the events in the story at their instructional level and express the main idea.

The following graph depicts the above information for the 2016 and 2017 kindergarten cohorts. The 2016 figures are for 12 months. The 2017 figures were achieved in just 9 months.

Reading Levels Kindergarten 2016 (by end Term 4) and 2017 (by end Term 3)