Think Pair Share

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Think-Pair-Share was developed by Frank Lyman. It is a strategy to get many students actively involved in classes of any size.

  1. After asking a question, tell students to think silently about their answers.
  2. Then ask them to pair up with a partner to compare or discuss their responses.
  3. You may then call randomly on a few students to summarize their discussion or give their answer.

The random calls are important to ensure that students are individually accountable for participating. (Susan Ledlow)

Addresses Multiple Intelligences (Rebeccah Newburn)


Think-Pair-Share helps to structure students' thinking and their discussion

TALKING: We know that students learn, in part, by being able to talk over the ideas they are encountering. (Vygotsky was right) But a free-for-all is sometimes not helpful. Think-Pair-Share can help because it structures the discussion. Students follow a simple process that reduces off-task thinking and behavior. Accountability is built in because each student must report to someone.

Sometimes partners can report back to the class.

THINK: when students simply THINK, there is Wait Time/quiet time built in, and this helps reduce the problem of the eager and outgoing students who always are first to call out. When this happened, it renders unnecessary any further thinking by other students.

EVERYONE thinks about the answer. This is much different from asking a question and then calling on an individual student, which leads some students to gamble they won't be the one out of 30 who gets called on and therefore they don't think much about the question.

A SAFE ENVIRONMENT: Students get to try out their answers in the private sanctuary of the pair, before having to "go public" before the rest of their classmates. Kids who would never speak up in class are at least giving an answer to SOMEONE this way.

Also, they often find out that their answer, which they assumed to be poor or stupid, was actually not be so bad after all.

RE-THINKING: Students also discover that they naturally rethink their answer in order to express it to someone else - they also often elaborate on their answer, or think of new ideas as the partners share.


Succint, well crafted two page summary. 2 page PDF

Linked to classroom demonstrations

Specific Subjects


  1. Reading - Discuss character traits and motives, make predictions before a chapter or at the end of a read-aloud session, discuss the theme of a book or story, make guesses about vocabulary words based on context clues in the story, discuss the meaning of similes and metaphors in a story
  2. Language Arts - Discuss Daily Oral Language responses, discuss ways to edit or revise a piece of writing, talk over story ideas, discuss letter-writing conventions


  1. Language Learning and practice.

Giving students an opportunity to speak English to another student:

Ask a question. The students think of a response. After some wait-think time, each student shares her/his ideas with a neighbour.

The students may also share the idea with another pair or the whole class. Ideally the pairs could be a mix of English language abilities.

Suggested Questions

Other Resources

YouTube Video

Hand signals



ABSTRACT The aim of this research was to describe the effects of Think-Pair-Share strategies, used during Guided Reading lessons, on reading achievement. Think-Pair-Share is a co-operative teaching strategy that includes three components; time for thinking, time for sharing with a partner and time for each pair to share back to a larger group. The use of Think-Pair-Share unites the cognitive and social aspects of learning, promoting the development of thinking and the construction of knowledge. The strategy lends itself to inclusion within Guided Reading lessons, where the focus is on meaningful discussion around text and promotion of the use of comprehension skills and strategies to foster comprehension. The literature review describes the effectiveness of explicit comprehension strategy instruction within the context of small group discussion. Strategies that foster cooperative learning have been successful in developing interpersonal skills, cognitive skills and metacognitive awareness. There is very little research documenting the effects of the use of the Think-Pair-Share strategy.