Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Reciprocal teaching: more research is needed to determine effectiveness

Reciprocal teaching is an instructional method designed to help teach reading comprehension skills to students with adequate decoding proficiency. During initial instructional sessions, the teacher introduces four comprehension strategies: summarizing, questioning, clarifying, and predicting. Then, the teacher and student read several passages that include narrative or informational text. The teacher thinks aloud while reading to model the four strategies, and the teacher also leads a discussion after the passage has been read. The student responds to the teacher’s summaries, makes additional predictions and clarifications about the text, and answers the teacher’s questions. Gradually, as the student’s skills develop, the student assumes responsibility for using the strategies and leading the discussion. This provides the student with strategy practice and allows the teacher to monitor and offer additional instruction as needed. Reciprocal teaching may be implemented with large groups or as peer tutoring, with the adult teacher monitoring.

The WWC identified 54 studies of reciprocal teaching for students with learning disabilities that were published or released between 1989 and 2013. None of these studies meet WWC evidence standards. More research is needed to determine the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of this method for students with learning disabilities.

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