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Monday, June 22, 2015

Reciprocal Teaching at Work: Guided Reading

Welcome back for another post about reciprocal teaching. I'm linking up with Christina's Kinder Blossoms for this book study. In this post, I'm looking at how you can use reciprocal teaching in guided reading groups and it's all in chapter four of Reciprocal Teaching at Work K-12 by Lori Oczkus.

I have to admit that I do a pretty good job of teaching guided reading to first graders, but I have never used guided reading groups with fifth graders. So I really read this chapter with my thoughts on fifth grade. (Yep, starting to get a little nervous about my grade change!) Lori Oczkus says this about using reciprocal teaching with small group instruction, "I've watched students in grades 2-6 grow as much as a staggering two levels in just three to six months, and other educators have experienced similar positive results." (page 134) WOW! That's a lot of growth.

So what are they doing to get that kind of a growth? Teaching the four strategies (predict, clarify, summarize and question) as a package to help students become more metacognitive and flexible. Research shows that this multiple-strategy instruction works.

So what does a reciprocal teaching based guided reading lesson look like? This is probably my favorite thing about this chapter...her outline for teaching small group lessons.
Lesson format modified slightly from page 154.

Now what about grouping students? In first grade I always grouped my students by reading level for guided reading. But the author suggests that there are four ways to group for reciprocal teaching groups.
  1. Strategy needs - I have done this a lot with writing and math, but not as much in reading.  You put the groups together based on student needs regardless of ability level. This is something I would like to try a little more of this year.
  2. Student choice - Let students choose a book regardless of level. Motivation plays a key factor here. I think this will be one of my favorite ways because I think it's really important for students to have choice in their reading. Most students who say they don't like to read, haven't found the right book.
  3. Intervention for struggling readers - This grouping would be for students who are 1-2 years below grade level and requires more instruction time than the rest of the class.
  4. Ability level - This is done more in the lower grades and the author recommends relying on more flexible groupings for grades 3-6. So student choice will probably be the most important grouping for my classroom.
One last thing worth mentioning is that this book is chalked full of mini-lessons. If you want to check out this book, click on the cover to go to Amazon.

Next week I will do one last post about reciprocal teaching and literature circles. I can't wait to read this chapter because I think getting students to use these strategies on their own is key.


  1. How can I get a printable of that chart above? It's beautiful and so helpful!

    1. I made it but just saved it in a picture format for posting here. I didn't keep the original version. Sorry. But you can find the information on page 154 of the book.