Reciprocal Reading

Reciprocal reading is the ground breaking method on group reading and peer to peer evaluation. It is the idea that children spark discussions and questions throughout their reading time to help them understand the text and develop their abilities. It combines cognitive learning with group reading sessions to help children get involved with books or other texts and influences positive attitudes to reading.

The objective is to separate students into small peer groups and assign them specific roles to help become involved in the reading tasks at hand. Furthermore, this method of group reading can not only improve speaking and listening skills, but also acts as a motivator to improve co-dependent behaviour.

You can set up your own Reciprocal Reading groups in your classroom or reading workshops by creating small reading groups made up of 4 or 5 (this works best but there is leg room to alternate between numbers). You can then assign your students different roles throughout their reading assignment. These roles are; The Leader, The Questioner, The Clarifier, The Summariser, and The Predictor.

Role Summaries:

The Leader: You can choose whether or not you assign this role to a student in the group or take it on yourself. The Leader is meant to make sure everyone in the group is participating fully, inviting each worker to read different chunks of text and deciding which role is best for the participants.

The Questioner: Dependent on ability, you can set your own questions for The Questioner to ask during the Reciprocal Reading task or ask them to set their own. It can start simple with who, what, when and where, but is meant to keep children attentive to the text so they are able to answer questions about the story to help them understand it further.

The Clarifier: This role is meant for pointing out challenging or confusing sectors within a text. The Clarifier must point out words that they may not understand and then as a group you can think about this and explain together what it means. This role is key for helping the group understand certain points or words that they may have originally bypassed to help them get a better understanding of the text.

The Summariser: The Summariser has the role of telling the group what they have read in their own words. This helps them relay what they have just read and put it into their own terms to clarify the story line and take in the story rather than just reading the letters from the book.

The Predictor: This is where you can look back at the text you have previously read and predict what will happen next through analysis and evaluation. This perception can alter whilst the story line progresses, but can act as a motivator and an incentive for children to pick out bits of detail within the text throughout this task.

scholastic reading for students and teachers learning resources
Source: Pixabay

These roles can be switched up throughout the reciprocal reading task and you may find it useful to have a group discussion with the seperate groups to see how they have developed with the story and also with their reading skills. According to a study by Scholastic, reciprocal reading can increase a child’s reading age by up to 9.1 months within just a few weeks. They have their own reading sets, connector series’ and information about reciprocal reading on their teacher learning resources website. With this in mind, by joining in with this groundbreaking reading programme you will be entitled to high impact benefits at low costs for teachers and schools. Your can get your own connector series’s based on age range or ability, shown below are just 2 of 11 sets available on the Scholastic website.

By reading, discussing and debating in small groups, students can improve their confidence with alternate reading styles and also develop their speaking and listening skills. The aim is to make sure children are understanding and taking in the story line or text at hand. Many children are taught how to read letters and phrases rather than how to read a story line.

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