A closer look at reciprocal teaching

At Liberty Middle School, many teachers use a technique called reciprocal teaching that’s designed to improve reading comprehension.

Reciprocal teaching is a discussion technique that incorporates four main reading strategies: predicting, questioning, clarifying and summarizing.

The goal, in short, is to prepare students to run their own discussion, taking turns as leaders.

“Students will break down a passage of text together and take turns facilitating the discussion,” sixth-grade teacher Justin Golden said. “Classmates take turns summarizing and asking questions and will work together to clarify confusing ideas and predict what will happen next.”

Using a color coded reference guide on their iPads, students take the lead in their learning – all the while knowing that the answer to a stumped question is just a hand raise away.

During a typical reciprocal teaching discussion, students begin by asking questions. Then, they work together to clarify the meaning of unfamiliar words and summarize the main ideas.  If they come across something they can’t talk out or would like some extra clarification on, Mr. Golden will jump in to instruct.