The present study sought to evaluate the 'paired reading' procedure with children who were repeating the primary 1 grade in the Brazilian school system. Thirty-two tutor/tutee pairs from four different classes of a public school took part in the project. Tutors included parents, relatives and peers, who were trained in the procedure in the school over six weeks. After training, pairs implemented the programme in their homes. The project was evaluated in terms of tutee changes in reading fluency, comprehension, confidence and reading habits, and in terms of changes in parents' and teachers' attitudes towards the children. Gains were evident for those who had participated consistently in the training and subsequent implementation, with 73 per cent of the children then able to graduate to primary 2. The most widespread gains were in reading habits and confidence, achieved by 90 percent of the children. Although exploratory, the results suggested that the 'paired reading' technique could prove effective for young children educationally at risk in the Brazilian school system. However, the procedure and its implementation required adaptation to the local social and cultural context.