(Image from skillsconverged.com)
As part of a recent Lesson Study project in my school, I was introduced to a new way of facilitating Guided Reading sessions. As part of the study I was observed and it was commented upon the amount of input I was giving – asking the correct AF questions, ensuring all had a voice, selecting parts of text to discuss etc. The suggestion of doing Reciprocal Reading was given, I pride myself in keeping informed of current research etc etc but had to admit that I had never come across this term or system before. Reciprocal reading was developed in the mid-1980s by reading researchers Ann Brown and Ann-Marie Palincsar. Also called reciprocal teaching, it is a set of four strategies taught to struggling readers, primarily to develop their comprehension monitoring abilities. In pairs or small groups, participants sharing a common text take turns assuming the roles of teacher and student. After instruction from the teacher, children then engage in the following sequence:
1. Boss (or role of teacher) – who reads determines whether they all read together, listen to the boss read or read silently. It is the boss’ role to keep the other participants involved.
2. Questioning – a child writes down questions arising form the test that they would answered as they read. (I gave the Questionner a whilteboard and pen for ease).
3. Summarizing – at any point (determined by the Boss), the Summarizer is called upon to summarize the text so far ( a very difficult skill for some).
4. Clarifying – as the text is being read the Clarifier writes down and looks up unusual or difficult words in a dictionary. They also clarify any difficulties in understanding of the text
5. Predicting – the Predictor, stopping at various points in the text will be asked by the Boss to predict an outcome given the information so far.
Each role has a prompt card to help with phrasing questions and key words to use. Roles are interchangeable within the group to enable all the children to experience all the roles over a number of weeks.
My role was to guide in the initial stages and then after that, I was able to sit back and actually assess using APP criteria as they progressed during the session. At first (especially with the higher ability groups) everyone was very eager to do their ‘role’ but after a few sessions, calm ensued and it is now a very productive way to organise a guided reading session. Does it improve skills in reading? Perhaps too early to say just yet, but early signs are that the children are really engaged in reading and their roles so it is a good start!
There are some resources on the internet, see links below for options to use in the classroom: