Pass / Fail

So Cal education, LAUSD, the Cal States and the UCs

A teaching approach for slow learners gaining wide appeal

57120 full
57120 full

Want to help your kids improve their reading skills over the summer? You may want to try a teaching approach designed three decades ago for slow readers – educators are having success using it with all students.

Reciprocal teaching, deconstructs the reading process into four components:

  • Predicting, which is skimming a sentence, paragraph or passage for a sense of the topic;
  • Questioning, which involves asking questions about the material as you read;
  • Clarifying, which is wondering about information you did not comprehend by reading ahead or asking a teacher, parent or friend;
  • And summarizing, which is recalling the material you just read.

Sounds complicated, but it’s really about sitting down with your kids and reading something aloud with them and interjecting with the occasional question, such as “what do you think will happen next?” or “do you know what that word means?” or “what has happened so far in the story?”

The teaching method was first developed in 1984 by then-University of Illinois professors Annemarie Sullivan Palincsar and the late Ann L. Brown.  The approach is now widely used in the U.S. and Canada and broadly taught and discussed in U.S. teacher training programs. 

In recent years, reciprocal teaching has been used with readers of all levels and even to teach other subjects – history and math, for example -- for one simple reason: students benefit from the more structured approach to reading. Give it a try.

Have other tips to help kids improve their reading skills over the summer? Leave them in the comments below.

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