Creative Approaches to Reading from a Textbook: Paired Interviews

two students reading

Welcome to the fourth and final installment of my mini-series on creative approaches to reading from a textbook. As I noted in earlier posts, reading from a textbook is only one strategy in our entire arsenal of approaches, albeit a significant one since we are a Church of Tradition, which must be faithfully transmitted. In this post, we explore a strategy known as “paired interviews,” a strategy which is very effective for interpersonal learners, who are eager to interact with others and can’t wait for the segment of a session when they get to turn to a neighbor and engage in conversation!

Paired Interviews

  • Arrange students in pairs, and assign half of the text to one child and the other half of the text to the other.
  • Provide an interview sheet with questions such as:
    • What is the main idea of your section?
    • What is a key word from your section? What does it mean?
    • What is the most inspiring sentence from your section?
    • What is one idea from your section that all Catholics should know or do?
  • Before children read their assigned sections, have them look over the interview questions so that they know what to look for as they read.
  • Have them read their assigned sections silently, highlighting the information needed for the interviews.
  • Then have children take turns interviewing one another about what they read, using the interview sheet.
  • Invite the pairs to share with the large group, each child reporting on what his or her partner read as you highlight and emphasize important information.

What are some other creative strategies that you have successfully employed to engage learners in reading from a textbook?

Try out this creative approach to reading from your Christ Our Life textbook from Loyola Press.

About Joe Paprocki 2746 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at

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