You ought to know about Reciprocal Reading. If you have children who are super decoders but need more practice of the explicit skills needed for comprehension, take their time with reading as it takes them a while to think about the content, struggle to identify the explicit skill they need to use to answer a question then this is an excellent approach to use. It was developed in New Zealand during the 1980s and still isn’t as widespread over here in the UK as I believe it should be.
The approach splits reading comprehension up into 4 strands-
This approach can be used as an intervention, during whole-class teaching or as a form of Guided Reading. I personally find it fits my Guided Reading sessions perfectly as each child can take on the role of a particular strand and you can also introduce a ‘boss’ who essentially facilitates the sessions instead of the teacher.
As I teach Year 2 (1st Grade) children I tend to use it this approach with my more able children who are strong (National Curriculum) level 2s to really extend their comprehension skills and push them into level 3s whereas my KS2 colleagues find it works well with their middle ability readers.
We dedicate a session to each strand and I model how to take on the role whilst encouraging the children to engage and develop the skill also. Once the children are confident with each strand I then begin to share out the roles, often pairing the children up as ‘Predictors’ and ‘Questioners’ first then in the next session ‘Clarifiers’ and ‘Summarisers’ before finally running the session with the children taking on the roles individually (if you have more than 4 children in a group, as I do, then I have found it best to team up the clarifiers or summarisers).
As the children mature and become more independent it is totally possible to introduce the ‘boss’ role who will facilitate the session by indicating which role is needed at a particular time and moving discussions on. Once this is possible then your role is redundant and you can have a Reciprocal Reading group running whilst you take another Guided Reading group. When I have managed to get to this stage in the past, I have left a tape recorder on in the centre of the group so that I can listen back and assess the progress made (and smile at how clever they are) plus the children are aware of it and are more likely to stay focused and on task!
Obviously a big part of Guided Reading is the texts you choose to use so, as well as using high quality ‘real texts’, we also use the ‘Connectors’ scheme from Scholastic. It is fantastic as a way of bridging the step from you as facilitator to the children taking on the role.
And as a thank you for stopping by- click to get your very own year2tastic Reciprocal Reading role cards freebie!
This is a re-blog post originally posted by Laura and published with kind permission. The article was originally published in 2015, and updated in 2019 by UKEd Editorial in accordance with website policy and upgrade changes.
The original post can be found here.