The Gradual Release of Responsibility Model

Hello Everyone! It is Amy from Eclectic Educating. Today I am blogging about something very near and dear to my heart - the gradual release of responsibility model. All of my instruction centers around this very philosophy. I was first exposed to the concept in college while studying the work of the amazing Debbie Miller.

The graphic above is a great visual representation of the gradual release of responsibility model. At the beginning of the lesson, the teacher has a high amount of control. Slowly, the teacher begins to release the control over to the student, allowing them to take responsibility for the learning. Let me break the process down for you. It can be divided into three distinct phases.

1. Modeling
The teacher begins by modeling the concept for the students. This is often done through read alouds and anchor charts. The teacher will demonstrate the skill for the students and if applicable, present a finished product.

2. Guided Practice
Now, the teacher begins to release the responsibility to the students. At this point, the teacher prompts students and asks questions to guide students. In the beginning, the teacher asks more direct questions and provides explicit prompts. Over time, the student requires less support and guidance.

3. Independent Practice
During this phase, the student demonstrates his or her independent abilities. At this point, the teacher wants to see what the student can do without any support from the teacher.

Let me demonstrate with one of my lessons.


I introduced the concept of summarizing using an anchor chart and explicitly explained the elements of a summary.Then, I provided students with a model of a summary I had already written. We labeled the parts of the summary together.

Guided Practice
Next, the students and I constructed a summary together. I prompted students to help guide them and make sure they included all the key elements of a summary.

Independent Practice

Lastly, students wrote an independent summary of a text they had read. I did not prompt or guide students at all with this summary. It was a true picture of what the students were able to do on their own. I often think that we as teachers focus too much on the guided practice portion of the lesson. We need to see what students are able to do independently. Only then can we know if students have mastered the material. We should not be afraid of seeing students fail. If we see that they need more instruction, we can certainly go back and reteach, (and should!) but we will never know if we don't test their limits!

If you would like more information on the gradual release of responsibility, I highly recommend Debbie Miller's Reading with Meaning: Teaching Comprehension in the Primary Grades. She is the master!

How do you incorporate the gradual release of responsibility model into your lessons?


  1. I love this model of teaching! I use it every single day in Reading and Writing Workshop and it really does work wonders! I usually set a timer for the magical number of 7 minutes of independent work time - then after 7 minutes of independence if they need help or aren't "getting it" then they can come to my back table or I can do a check it! It's fantastic!

    Plus, I love your summary anchor chart! My students always need summary reminders ;)

    My Shoe String Life

  2. Someone once shortened it for me as "I Do, We Do, You Do"- and it's such a simple way to frame your lessons. Often, the "I Do" happens as we make an anchor chart. Then, we somehow do a few together (either on another piece of chart paper, on the board, or doing something hands-on), and then I give them independent practice. Sometimes I add in a step of working with a partner or group while I listen to see who's getting it, too. I loved your example!


  3. Our Reading Lesson Plans are written with the I Do, We Do, You Do Model. I love it. I'm not as good with the "explicit" part - ie: labeling what they see on the anchor chart. Thanks for the eye opener!