Friday, February 13, 2015

Reciprocal Reading / Reading Rockets

Image from:
Since we are reading a number a number of novels this year, I’ve been trying to build up my repertoire of reading activities. These activities need to fulfill the following criteria:

1) Won’t bore students;
2) Activities will engage students in active reading;
3) And, will facilitate language acquisition (aligned to a specific learning objective)

So, when I learned about Reciprocal Reading Groups from Reading Rockets, I was pretty pleased to find a strategy that was student-centered and that fulfilled all three of the above criteria. Reciprocal reading groups are an activity designed to allow students to guide and instruct the reading in small groups. Each student is assigned one of four roles:

Predictor: makes predictions before and after the selection
Clarifier: keeps track of and helps to clarify any unknown vocabulary
Question Generator: responsible for coming up with comprehension questions (great idea here from Martina Bex in getting students to write comp questions—In French and Spanish)
Summarizer: responsible for summarizing the selected passage

The trick in these groups is to have students use their roles to interact with and teach their classmates. In order to do this, I started by explicitly explaining that the idea behind this activity was to get students to help one another to understand the passage. I then assigned each role an order. I had the students read the passage out loud to one another (paragraph by paragraph) while everyone followed along, indicating any difficult vocabulary. After every second paragraph, the group worked together to perform each of their tasks. I stressed that while each student had a specific role the entire group could and should help with each task. So far we’ve used this strategy twice in my classes and I’ve found the biggest challenge so far has been getting the Questioner to really use the questions to discuss the selection. Modeling this for the students helps and I also believe the more familiar the kids get with the activity the more effective it will be. Modeling the templates found on Reading Rockets, I created the bookmark and graphic organizer below: Bookmark
Graphic Organizer

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