Reciprocal Teaching - A Strategy for Improving Reading Comprehension

Reciprocal Reading

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Reading Resources Homepage - You are herefree reading games Comprehension Strategies - Reciprocal Teaching Prompt Cards

Summary: Reciprocal teaching is a very powerful strategy for improving reading comprehension.

After using this strategy for a number of years I've developed these teaching prompts cards that work for me and the students. I've added a variety of cues to each prompt card so that when familiar with the strategy it becomes an independent group task.

Reciprocal Teaching

Reading Skill - Predicting

"Based on the topic sentence, I think
the paragraph will be about "

The Cards

1 . Predicting -
The leader asks the students to read the topic sentence or subheading and then predict what the rest of the paragraph will be about.

Since the topic sentence tells what will follow you can teach the children how to skim read at this point.

2. Reading - This card invites the children to read up to a certain point. I've added a bit of variety to the cards so they can read silently, to the group, to a partner or in unison. Just to add a bit of variety.

3. Clarification - This card gives the readers the opportunity to have any unfamiliar words, locations or pronunciations 'made clear'.

I find the first couple of times you do this strategy the children often won't volunteer that they don't know something. So I pick out a word or a place and ask the group to clarify it. If all members don't offer to answer the question, then I talk about how the purpose of reading is to gain meaning and if we are not gaining meaning, then we are simply 'barking at the print'. (Oh they love that term)

You can also teach information skills here as well as dictionary skills and how to use an atlas.
What...? Why...? When...?
Which...? Where...? Who...? How...?
5. " (name) would you please say / write a sentence or two to summarise this passage."

4. Questioning - I get the children to generate the questions at this point. The questions can be answered orally or, depending on your purpose, you might like the group to record some of their questions and answers.

5. Summarising - the perfect point to teach key points, note-taking and to some extent paraphrasing.


swap leaders
6. Swap Leaders and the whole
process starts again.

How I use the strategy in my classroom.

Firstly I introduce the whole class to each of the skills in the process. This can take a couple of lessons to do well.

Then during group work I sit with a small group of children. I bring to the group the reciprocal reading cards, multiple copies of an INFORMATION TEXT, three different levels of dictionaries, three atlases & paper for note taking. I also take a laptop, Ipad or Itouch to the group and have , the and Google Earth open to aid in the 'clarification' phase. These sites provide great opportunity to build into the sessions the areas of website credibility and website advertising awareness.

For the first few sessions I am the leader, but the children are aware that the skills demonstrated will help them work as an independent group in the near future.

Reciprocal Teaching Prompt Cards -

reciprocal reading
Palincsar (1986)
download prompt cards Reciprocal Teaching Prompt Cards
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download prompt cards Reciprocal Teaching Prompt Cards
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download prompt cards People Who Have Modified my Work

My Reciprocal Teaching Cards made into 'Mini Posters' - Each Card is A4 size
download prompt cards My Reciprocal Teaching Cards modified for different reading skill focuses.



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