Reciprocal Teaching

Reciprocal teaching may be used as one of several teaching techniques within a balanced reading programme. It provides the opportunity for "reading by" the students.

Reciprocal teaching may be used as a means of accessing a piece of challenging text to a group. Various pieces of text could be used in the following ways (depending on the level of challenges in the text):

Reciprocal teaching may be used as an intensive comprehension teaching programme. This approach is useful for middle school students who are able to read the text accurately but have limited understanding of what they read.

Benefits of Reciprocal Teaching

Learners can gain an improved understanding of complex text in content areas. This leads them on to greater knowledge of the topic, improved skills, and more positive attitudes when extracting, organising, and recording information.

Other benefits learners can gain include more self confidence and motivation to read, improved leadership skills, increased co-operation and greater initiative.

Research studies have shown that when reciprocal teaching is implemented, learners will make substantial gains in their comprehension skills.

How to Implement Reciprocal Teaching

It is recommended that the teacher introduce small groups of students to reciprocal teaching, one group at a time. However the strategies could be introduced to the whole class. It is important to select texts that are at an appropriate level (instructional level).

Teachers should:

During the group session, learners discuss the text only in small chunks. When the reciprocal reading session is over, it is advantageous for the learners to read the whole text to themselves.

Reciprocal Teaching

The learner is anticipating what will come next in the text, based on appropriate prior knowledge and on the structure and content of the text.

Predicting is purpose setting (learners read to confirm or reject their hypotheses).

Predicting encourages learners to actively think ahead.

When clarifying, learners are dealing with difficulties in the text by being alert to:

After recognising the problem, learners can employ a "fix up strategy" to restore meaning, for example:

It may be necessary for the learners to read the whole passage again, to understand the meaning.

When questioning, the learner is exploring the meaning of the text in depth. Questioning gives the learner an opportunity to:

When suitable questions have been asked, the learner can then:

Learners become much more involved in the reading activity when they are posing and answering questions themselves, rather than merely responding to the teacher's questions or to pre-set questions. Questioning is a means of self-checking.

When summarising the learner is identifying and integrating important information presented in the text.

In summarising the learner needs to: