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Monday, June 1, 2015

Reciprocal Teaching at Work: The Four Strategies


I was excited when I saw that Christina from Kinder Blossoms was hosting a book study on the book Reciprocal Teaching at Work K-12 by Lori Oczkus.

I heard Lori speak last fall in a regional IRA meeting. She was so energetic about reciprocal teaching that I wrote down the title of the book and meant to purchase it. #good intentions #shouldhavedoneit Plus, she kept talking about the research and what it said about comprehension and reciprocal teaching. That really caught my attention because I try to based my instructional decisions on research. So when I saw this book study, I signed right up and ordered my book. This will be a 5 part book study so make sure to come back and join us for the discussions about the rest of the book. Today is chapter one - The Four Reciprocal Teaching Strategies

Click on the book to go to Amazon.
There is so much information in this chapter - too much for me to talk about it all. It's really more than just a great introduction, so I'm going to touch on just a portion of it on this post.

What is Reciprocal Teaching?

"Reciprocal teaching is a scaffolded discussion technique that incorporates four main strategies - predicting, questioning, clarifying, and summarizing - that good readers use together to comprehend text." (page 16)

This is about teaching students to use comprehension strategies while they read. But more importantly it's about teaching them to use those four strategies all at the same time. Check out this blog for more information on Reciprocal Teaching at: http://www.readingrockets.org/strategies/reciprocal_teaching

I also found this great definition by putting reciprocal teaching into a google search.

The Strategies

Predicting

This strategy includes a lot more than guessing. It's about previewing the text to anticipate what may happen next and it's used differently with fiction than nonfiction.

The language of prediction can include the following:
  • I think...
  • I'll bet...
  • I wonder if...
  • I imagine...
  • I suppose...
  • I predict...
  • I think I will learn... because...
  • I think...will happen because...

Questioning

"When students are encouraged and taught to ask questions as they read, their comprehension deepens." (page 19)

Since students naturally ask a lot of questions, this is a strategy that many of my students use, but not always are they asking questions that help deepen their understanding. Students need to generate questions about the main idea and supporting details, as well as about textual inferences. We need to teach them to ask the important questions.

Clarifying

"A broader definition of clarifying includes keeping track of one's comprehension of the text and knowing fix-up strategies to maintain meaning during reading." (page 20)

The language of clarifying can include the following:
  • I didn't understand the part where...
  • I didn't get...so I....
  • This....is not clear. This doesn't make sense.
  • I can't figure out...
  • This is tricky, because...
In my opinion, the crucial thing about clarifying is teaching students fix-up strategies. They need to learn how to solve their misunderstandings.

Summarizing

"Reciprocal teaching provides students with many opportunities to exercise their summarizing muscle as they formulate frequent verbal summaries throughout the reading of a text. Summarizing is a complex process that requires the orchestration of various skills and strategies, including recalling important events or details, ordering points, and using synonyms or selecting vocabulary." (page 22)

The language of summarizing may include the following:
  • The most important ideas in this text are...
  • This part was mostly about...
  • This book was about...
  • First...Next...Then...Finally...

Implementation

I love, love, love that the author right away tells us that there are going to be obstacles to implementing this. How often do you see or hear about a new teaching idea and immediately you see difficulties arising? But, of course, the person demonstrating it has it working flawlessly. Lori has four pages of problems that you might encounter with real life solutions to help you work out these difficulties. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Lesson Foundations

Reciprocal teaching instruction includes using scaffolding, think-alouds, metacognition, and cooperative learning. All things teachers are already familiar with doing. Plus you can use it with all three tiers of RTI. Next week I'll be talking about introducing and implementing reciprocal teaching when we discuss chapter two. So make sure to come back next week. My head is literally spinning with ideas for implementing reciprocal teaching in my new fifth grade class. If you head over to Kinder Blossoms you can find links to other bloggers who are talking about this chapter too.

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