Implementing Reciprocal Teaching


Introduction of the Four Strategies:

During this stage the teacher introduces the four strategies involved in a reciprocal teaching lesson. Each strategy is explicitly taught and practiced. During this stage it is important to teach students when, how, and why to use each strategy. This has been shown to help increase student motivation. It also helps students internalize and use strategies independently. See pp. 9-27 for mini-lessons. The purpose of these mini-lessons and practice activities is to prepare students to engage in reciprocal teaching dialogue. The activities, done in isolation, are not reciprocal teaching

Teacher-Led Stage:

During this stage the teacher assumes the role of the student leader in a reciprocal teaching group and models the use of the four strategies through think-alouds and demonstration. Gradually students are invited to participate and begin to assume group leadership roles. The purpose of this stage is to prepare students for reciprocal teaching dialogue. Guided reading groups provide an ideal setting fro this stage of implementation.

Collaborative Stage:

Students work in pairs and eventually in groups of four or five and begin to assume more leadership responsibility. Coaching and corrective feedback are crucial aspects of this stage. Guided reading groups provide a natural setting for this stage, as well, because the teacher is available to guide students and give the necessary feedback.

Reciprocal Stage: 

At this stage reciprocal teaching is fully implemented. Heterogeneous groups of four to five students work independently as the teacher moves from the role of coach to the role of observer. Stronger students help support less capable students. Literature circles and book clubs are a natural setting for this stage.

Source: A Practical Guide to Reciprocal Teaching by Shira Lubliner, Wright Group/McGraw-Hill, 2001.

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