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Reciprocal Teaching

The Reciprocal Teaching strategy involves a role reversal: students "become" teachers of reading strategies. After training students in specific reading strategies and modeling these strategies when analyzing texts, teachers divide classes into small groups and assign individual students to take turns "teaching" and "modeling" the strategies in their small group. This metacognitive exercise encourages students to think about their own thought processes when using reading strategies.

Palincsar and Brown (1984) argue that Reciprocal Teaching should always train students in . . .

  1. Predicting upcoming information.

  2. Asking questions.

  3. Identifying and clarifying confusing information.

  4. Summarizing as a means of self-review.

Steps to Reciprocal Teaching:

  1. Select a well-structured text selection for the exercise. Distribute copies of the selection to the class.

  2. Explain the four reading skills that you will demonstrate: summarizing, questioning, clarifying, and predicting.

  3. Model each of these skills by analyzing the first paragraph of the document.

  4. Divide the class into small groups. Assign each student in the groups one of the remaining paragraphs. Have the student "teach" the four reading skills to the group, using their assigned paragraph.

  5. Encourage discussion within the groups both during and after the student presentations. Ask students to identify the skills that were most and least effectively used.

Learn More:

  • Palinscar, A. & Brown, A. (1984). "Reciprocal teaching of comprehension-fostering and comprehension monitoring activities." Cognition and Instruction, I (2), p. 117-175.

  • Rosenshine, B., & Meister, C. (1994). "Reciprocal teaching: A review of the research." Review of Educational Research, 64, 479-530.

  • Reciprocal Teaching

  • Why Reciprocal Teaching?