Content Literacy 101

Group Work (from "Power Tools for Adolescent Literacy")

"Reciprocal teaching is a framework for talking about text or books, facilitated by the teach and students or by small cooperative groups. The dialogue is structured by the use of four comprehension strategies: 1) summarizing, 2) question generating, 3) clarifying , and 4) predicting. The teacher and students take turns assuming the role of teacher in leading this dialogue."

Why use it?
"No Child Left Behind recommends Reciprocal Teaching (RT) as a research-based approach for promoting student-directed learning. RT aids students in applying and practicing comprehension strategies, improves oral language and discussion skills, and increases active student engagement."

How do I use it
1. "Choose a text to model the RT roles, and enlarge the text for a whole-class demonstration lesson. As in a Think-Aloud, pre-read the text to identify segments to model the four comprehension strategies, marking or using sticky notes to note places that show prediction, clarification, question, and summary. Give students a four-column graphic organizer, or ask students to draw a four-column chart

2. Model Reciprocal Teaching by reading aloud the title of the text and any headings on the first page; make a prediction of what the text will be about. Ask students to write their prediction in the Prediction column. Read the first page of the text, and continue as follows:

  • Does anyone need to have anything clarified?
  • Does anyone have a question to ask?
  • My summary of what we have read is...

3. Discuss any clarifications, questions, and summaries, allowing time for students to record these on their graphic organizer.

4. Continue guided practice over several additional pages until students are ready to use RT independently.

5. Put students in groups of four.

6. Distribute a card to each member of the group identifying each person's unique role. Use the role cards provided below, or create your own.

7. Have students read a few paragraphs of the assigned text selection. Encourage them to use sticky notes or their journal to help them better prepare for their roles in the discussion.

8. At the given stopping point, the Summarizer will highlight the key ideas up to that point in the reading.

9. The Interrogator will then pose questions about the selection.

10. The Clarifier will address confusing parts and attempt to answer the questions that were just posed.

11. The Predictor can offer guesses about what the author will tell the group next, or, if it is a literary selection, the Predictor might suggest what the next events in the story will be.

12. The roles in the group then switch one person to the right, and the next selection is read. Students repeat the process using their new roles. This continues until students have read the entire selection.

13. As students become more proficient with the routine. vary the roles within the group. Give out task cards with different strategies written on them; such as Quick Draw, Connector, or Big Idea. The student who has a particular card responds to the text in the manner stated on the card. See Alternative Role Cards below."

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