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ESOL Online. Every child literate - a shared responsibility.
Ministry of Education.

Cooperative reading/Reciprocal teaching

Reading Strategy: Co-operative reading/Reciprocal teaching

ESOL Principles:

Most strategies can be used to support all seven of the ESOL principles dependent upon how the teacher decides to use the strategy within their teaching and learning planning cycle. This strategy is usually used to support:

Principle 3: Maintain and make explicit the same learning outcomes for all the learners. How can I make the lesson comprehensible to all students? How can I plan the learning tasks so that all the students are actively involved? Do my students understand the learning outcomes?

Principle 5: Provide multiple opportunities for authentic language use with a focus on students using academic language. Is the language focus on key language? Do I make sure the students have many opportunities to notice and use new language?

Principle 6: Ensure a balance between receptive and productive language. Are the students using both productive (speaking, writing) and receptive (listening, reading) language in this lesson?

Principle 7: Include opportunities for monitoring and self-evaluation. Am I using 'think alouds' to show students my strategy use? What opportunities are there for reflection and self-evaluation?


Co-operative reading/Reciprocal teaching

Co-operative reading is based on Palincsar and Brown's (1986) research into reciprocal teaching. Students work in groups of four. Each student is given a different strategy that they are responsible for leading /answering during the discussion time which follows the reading of the text. These roles are summarising, question generating, clarifying, and predicting.

Reciprocal teaching aids students to construct meaning from text as well as a providing a means of monitoring their reading to ensure that they are, in fact, understanding what they read. It also scaffolds their use of the reading strategies.

video icon Secondary level: Making Language and Learning Work DVD 2 - Year 12 English.

Teaching and learning sequence planning examples:

Primary level:

Secondary level:

Some possible Teacher Inquiry questions:

  • How will I model this strategy to my students?
  • What do I need to teach first before my students will be ready to use this strategy?
  • At what point in the lesson cycle will this strategy be best used?
  • Overtime, as I observe my English language learners using reciprocal reading does their use of reading strategies increase? Do their responses show a deeper understanding of the texts being read?


Useful websites:

Published on: 14 Sep 2012