Adventures in Literacy Land: Reciprocal Teaching

Showing posts with label Reciprocal Teaching. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Reciprocal Teaching. Show all posts

Reciprocal Teaching in English and Maths

Hi everyone!

I am Kylie and I live in Brisbane, Australia.  I am so honoured to be a part of this amazing collaborative literacy blog and to be networking with such a talented group of literacy specialists!  I am learning so much every day from their posts.

I have worked in adult literacy, numeracy and ESL, in primary teaching and as a Head of Curriculum.  I am currently a lecturer, working with pre-service teachers, which I just love!!!  I am studying my PhD which is around what constitutes intellectual demand in the teaching of reading across the curriculum - that was a mouthful!!!  In a nutshell, it's examining rigorous pedagogies for the teaching of reading.

Today, I am going to be talking about Reciprocal Teaching in both English and Mathematics.  I am really passionate about dialogic approaches that encourage classroom interaction, accountable talk, close reading and higher order thinking.

What is Reciprocal Teaching?

Reciprocal Teaching (Palinscar & Brown, 1984) is an evidence-based approach that improves reading comprehension through small group discussions.  It involves reciprocal dialogue between teachers and students.  Teachers can use the Gradual Release of Responsibility model (Pearson & Gallagher, 1983) and through explicit modeling of the strategies, can gradually increase leadership of the groups to the students, to the point where eventually students can lead the groups themselves. 

Reciprocal Teaching is also an excellent approach to use if you have para-professionals, teacher aides or parents helping with reading groups, as it scaffolds the process through prompts on each role card.  You can read a review of the Reciprocal Teaching research here.  Lori Oczkus has cited the following results from the research into Reciprocal Teaching:

In 15 days students are more confident. (Palinscar & Brown, 1986)
Low-performing students do well with reciprocal teaching. (Carter, 1997)
Struggling readers grow 1-2 years in 3-6 months(Cooper, Boschken, McWilliams, & Pistochini, 2000).
In 16 studies reciprocal teaching proved consistent and effective. (Rosenshine & Meister, 1994).
So how does it work?

Reciprocal Teaching traditionally uses four reading comprehension strategies - predicting, clarifying, questioning and summarizing (summarising for those of us in Australia).  The approach can be used in whole class lessons or during guided reading.

We usually have six students in our guided reading groups, so as a group, we predict what the text will be about before reading, using the title and images to assist.  If it is a book, we might look at the blurb or sometimes the contents page if it is a non-fiction text.  Students usually use a prompt like, "By looking at the cover and the title, I predict this text is going to be about..." Other students add to their predictions giving evidence from the text to justify their predictions.

Students then read a section of the text silently.  They pause at a pre-determined place and identify any words or concepts that need to be clarified.  This may also involve looking up words in the dictionary, using the glossary if the text has one, or searching an atlas for a location.  Students are encouraged to clarify for each other at this point.  The group leader (teacher/teacher aide/parent) may also help to clarify unknown words or concepts after the students have had a go.

Next, the students ask questions about their reading and attempt to answer each others' questions.  Student-generated questioning is an important part of higher order thinking and deep comprehension.  I sometimes mix this up and I may use an interrogative die (which is just a die with who, what, where, when, why and how on each face).  The students take turns to roll the die and ask a question beginning with the prompt.  This really encourages them to think deeply and laterally when formulating questions.  Other times, I might use a die that has "thick" or "thin" written on each face and the students take it in turn to ask a "thin" (literal, 'right here in the text') question or a "thick" (requiring deep engagement and thinking, beyond the text) question of their peers.  You can find a lesson on thick and thin questions from Read-Write-Think here and free posters here.  The students then summarize (summarise) what has been read so far and add to each others' summaries.

It's up to the teacher's instructional purpose, how much text is read in the reading session and whether the cycle begins again for the next section of text or if that is enough for one day - the important thing to note is that it is not a race to get through the text.  This does take time and the purpose is to generate thinking and deep comprehension, not to speed through the text at a surface level.

How does this apply to Mathematics?

I have had great success using the Reciprocal Teaching approach to support the comprehension of Mathematics word problems in small problem solving groups.  

I have extended the process from the original four strategies of predicting, clarifying, questioning and summarizing (summarising) to include: Predicting, Clarifying, Questioning, Visualizing, Connecting,  Calculating, Summarizingand Giving Feedback. This draws on my research around Reciprocal Teaching and also the high yield active comprehension strategies.  I think the "Giving Feedback" role is important as it allows students to monitor how the group is working and helps to support a positive culture in the classroom.

The students predict what the problem is going to be about (based on the Maths in the problem, not whether it is about bees or butterflies etc. LOL).  The students clarify any tricky parts in the problem or maths symbols/language.  They ask each other any questions about the problem; they visualize (visualise) what the problem is asking, perhaps drawing diagrams or tables to assist; they make connections to other similar problems they may have encountered. Next they do the calculations and check the reasonableness of their answers by going back and re-reading the problem and checking they have actually done what the question asked.  
After this, they summarize (summarise) what the problem was asking, how they solved the problem and justify the reasonableness of their solution based on the problem solving strategies used. Finally, they give feedback on the group's problem solving session, focusing on the positives and giving feedback on improvements for the future.  

You can read more about the Reciprocal Teaching resources I use in reading groups and Mathematics problem solving groups, in my blog post here

Resources to support Reciprocal Teaching

Adrian Bruce has some free role/strategy cards that can be used for Reciprocal Teaching on his website. You can find them here.  The Ontario Literacy Secretariat (love their work) provides a summary of Diane Snowball's approach to Reciprocal Teaching here and webcasts on Reciprocal Teaching, Accountable Talk and the Gradual Release of Responsibility model can be found here.

Lori Oczkus has done a lot of work with Reciprocal Teaching and has four puppets ("The Fabulous Four") that she uses to introduce each of the four reading strategies. Click on the image above to find out more.  Her puppets include:  Paula the Predictor, Clara Clarifier, Quincy the Game show host, and cowboy Sammy Summarizer. 

You can view a video of Lori demonstrating this approach here. This is a link to her free video guide where you can download some great resources, including bookmarks to support the Reciprocal Teaching approach.  You can view some vimeos of her approach here.  She uses hand signals as well in her approach.  There is a free professional development study guide that can be downloaded here, and a free chapter from her book is available here to help teachers get started with Reciprocal Teaching.  Ideas for lesson planning and a rubric can be found here, and there are guidelines or advice for classroom organisation, text selection, and planning using the approach here.   

Other terrific suggestions can be found on the Utah Council of the International Reading Association site here and hereThere are also some excellent videos from the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood here.

If you are interested in my approach for extending Reciprocal Teaching to include the high yield active comprehension strategies, you can read my published research here. 

I would be really keen to hear from anyone who has used the Reciprocal Teaching approach in either reading groups or for supporting the comprehension of Maths word problems.  Please comment below, as I know there have been many different versions of the approach over the years.

Many thanks to my graphic artist Iva from etsy (nahhan73) for the custom clip art used in my post. I love her work!  Click on the link in brackets to find out more.