Students Take Charge: Reciprocal Teaching
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Students Take Charge: Reciprocal Teaching


At Frank Love Elementary School, reading expert
Shira Lubliner shows off a technique called “Reciprocal Teaching” that’s designed to improve
reading comprehension. (reading) Tap, tap, tap, tap. A sea otter
lies on her back in the water. The goal of Reciprocal Teaching is to prepare
students to run their own discussion, taking turns as leaders. But first, Ms. Lubliner
shows them how to guide a conversation about a book.
See, my first job is to ask a question. And I’m gonna try to ask an important main idea
question that starts with a question word. Let’s see…what does the sea otter do to
prepare lunch? There is no replacement for a teacher who
can generate a good discussion and get kids to really ponder what they’ve read and the
whys and wherefores and connect those meanings to their own lives.
I’m going to predict that we’re going to learn some more about what sea otters eat.
Now it’s time for the kids to lead their own discussion — with a little help from Ms.
Lubliner. The kids begin with the first of four clear
steps-asking a question. What do sea otters have to be careful of?
The next step is clarifying the meaning of unfamiliar words.
Prefer fur. It means that somebody likes something better
than they like something else. Afloat. Jesse?
Afloat means a little bit above the water. And floating on the water, not just under
it or over it. The next phase of Reciprocal Teaching is summarizing
— finding the main ideas. Sea otters have a lot of enemies. They have
to be careful of eagles, white… I mean sharks, and fisherman.
The final step is prediction. I predict that we’ll learn more about otters
in this story. Reciprocal Teaching promotes a give and take
between teachers and students that achieves the ultimate purpose of reading: finding the
meaning.

About James Carlton

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