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Instructional Techniques

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Reading Strategies is a label commonly used to refer to both the strategies used by students to get meaning from text and the strategies used by teachers to structure and deliver instruction. Merry Bee uses the label ‘instructional techniques’ for those instructional strategies the teacher uses and ‘reading strategies’ for those strategies the student uses in reading.
  • across the curriculum or reading in the content areas
  • anticipation guide
  • assisted reading
  • choral reading
  • cloze
  • directed reading thinking activities (DRTA)
  • dialog journal or double entry journal
  • focused imaging
  • guided reading
  • KWL and variations
  • literature circle
  • modeling, coached practice and reflection (MCR)
  • question/answer relationships (QAR)
  • questioning the author
  • readers theater
  • readers workshop
  • reciprocal teaching
  • sketch to stretch
  • Socratic questioning
  • storytelling
  • technology
  • transactional strategies instruction (TSI)
  • word walls
  • writers workshop
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Reciprocal Teaching


Developed by Annemarie Palincsar, 1984
Use with small group (preferred), whole class
Use before, during, or after reading
Use 1-12; adapt for age appropriateness with elementary students

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Reciprocal teaching develops the ability of students to use four comprehension strategies - predicting, summarizing, clarifying, and questioning. The four strategies can be taught in any order. The teacher begins with direct explicit instruction, uses modeling and demonstration, and provides guided practice. The activity is “reciprocal” in that students take the lead as they become more proficient in using these strategies. Thus the teacher role is flexible, shifting between instructor and facilitator as leadership shifts back and forth between the teacher and the student. It is important that the text used for reciprocal teaching be decodable by the student. It is desirable to apply the reciprocal teaching technique with a variety of genre.
The strategies developed in reciprocal teaching are defined as:

  • Predict - Hypothesize using the information given in the text.
  • Summarize - Identify and condense the most important points in the text.
  • Clarify - Identify what makes a given text difficult and seek an understanding of difficult vocabulary, usage elements, or concepts.
  • Question - Generate appropriate and important questions about the text.
Reciprocal teaching is related to discussions of learning dialogues, expert scaffolding, and collaborative learning in the professional literature.
This technique is particularly pertinent to developing comprehension in reading, but the student should internalize the use of other comprehension strategies as well.
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Links to resources
Two text series that use reciprocal teaching are:
  • Houghton Mifflin's Soar to Success intervention program, grades 3-8.
  • Macmillan/McGraw-Hill’s Spotlight on Literacy
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page last updated: 6/29/07
© 2005-2007, Mary Berry. All rights reserved.