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The BIG education issue: Reciprocal reading

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Helen Freeman looks at the benefits of reciprocal reading with literacy specialist, Sarah Snashall.


Two of the Connectors books — the KS2 non-fiction reading scheme that uses reciprocal reading techniques to encourage children to develop comprehension skills

What is reciprocal reading?

Reciprocal reading is a method of teaching comprehension which explicitly teaches strategies for predicting, clarifying, questioning and summarising. It was originally described by Palinscar and Brown in the 1980s in the US, but has been adopted worldwide.

Reciprocal teaching has been shown to increase both reading and listening comprehension, and has demonstrated that learners transfer their learning into other contexts.

How does it differ from other comprehension/speaking and listening strategies?

Many comprehension exercises are taught and practised through writing answers to pre-prepared questions. The reciprocal teaching method encourages children to ask questions of the text themselves and to answer and build on the questions of their peers. Asking questions and peer discussion can be a powerful learning experience and requires a higher level of understanding and engagement with the text.

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  1. SianE, Literacy Publisher
    on 25 August 2010

    Reciprocal reading resources

    You don’t specify which age group you are teaching? The only books that we know of, that are specifically aimed at reciprocal reading, is the Connectors series, which you can order from our Teacher Shop. There’s also a Scholastic Literacy Skills Comprehension title, one for each year group, which is based on the principles of reciprocal reading too. Let me know if I can be of further help, or if this wasn’t what you were after.

  2. Nim
    on 24 August 2010

    receprical reading

    What are the recourses you need to do reciprocal reading with your students?

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