Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

Paired Verbal Fluency

K20 Center | Published: September 16th, 2020 by K20 Center


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Paired Verbal Fluency

Students take turns summarizing a reading then check for understanding with a partner during a structured time frame. This strategy can be used in processing, organizing, and integrating information.

Paired Verbal Fluency


Student pairs take turns discussing a provided prompt. To ensure that the conversation is equal between partners and that only new ideas are discussed, students should never repeat something already discussed by their partner and each student's turn to speak is timed. For an exercise that focuses on activating prior knowledge, the first round should be timed at 20 seconds each, the second round at 40 seconds each, and the third round at 60 seconds each. For an activity that encourages organizing and integrating information, time the first round at 60 seconds each, the second round at 40 seconds each, and the third round at 20 seconds each.


  1. Form pairs in A and B order.

  2. Provide the students with a prompt, which they will take turns responding to. Throughout the activity, no one is allowed to repeat anything that was said by their partner.

  3. At a signal, one student will speak and one will listen.

  4. After a predetermined number of seconds, signal for the students to swap places; the other will speak while the first speaker listens.

  5. Repeat the cycle two or three times.

Keeley, P. (2008). Science formative assessment: 75 practical strategies for linking assessment, instruction, and learning. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin, SAGE.