Reciprocal Teaching – Guest Post

Guest Post from Kim Macneil:

I teach in the Learning Assistance Life Skills (LALS) program at Lord Byng Secondary.  I have introduced Reciprocal Teaching (Palincsar and Brown, 1984) as an activity that promotes the use of a range of reading strategies in order to boost comprehension.  Many in our group love reading the newspaper during Silent Reading so we oscillate between the West Coast Reader and The Province as sources of concise and current writing.  Students actively participate in their reading, and I’ve used it successfully as an approach to reading Social Studies and Science textbooks in the past.

Very briefly, Reciprocal Teaching is comprised of the following four comprehension activities:

  1. Predicting what the segment is about.
  2. Raising questions about a text segment.
  3. Clarifying difficult vocabulary concepts.
  4. Summarizing the important points.

The teacher explicitly models how to use the comprehension activities with the goal of gradually releasing the responsibility of strategy-use to students.  This is initially accomplished through a scripted process which ultimately helps students to build their capacity to use the strategies both independently and inter-dependently as they ‘Reciprocally Teach’ each other in small groups.

For lesson plans and materials please go to

Palincsar, A., & Brown, A.L. (1984). Reciprocal teaching of comprehension-fostering and comprehension-monitoring activities. Cognition and Instruction, 1, 117-175.


About J Martens

Educator living in Vancouver and working in SD37 Delta. Supporting Numeracy while learning how formative assessment, literacy, inquiry, and technology serve to improve learning and increase engagement (for teachers & students).
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