Inference – the Jam in the Doughnut: Reciprocal Reading – Part 1

I don’t know how many of you are familiar with reciprocal reading but it is a well-researched method of teaching reading comprehension.  The researchers Palincsar and Brown developed the idea and their work is very accessible on the internet, including long term studies.

Reciprocal reading focuses on four key strageies that are predicting, clarifying, questioning and summarising but which need to be taught within the context of a rich reading curriculum.

We use our  doughnut of reading to try and explain this.

jammy donutIn this diagram we acknowledge that whatever we do in  reading we must allow children time for personal response and time to develop their own reading habits.

The next layer is the dough and this is generally the knowledge or content that we teach in shared and guided reading when we focus on the elements of character, organisational features etc.

But we are still not quite at the jammy heart!  In fact we need to focus on some key skills or strategies and they are the ones that reciprocal reading identifies as being core skills: predicting, clarifying, questioning and summarising.  These can help direct us to the jam.

The next few posts will consider what we can do to teach these four key skills and how we can develop them in our teaching contexts.

For an overview of strategies that can be used to develop reciprocal reading see the blog post  Reading with Meaning

Have you tried reciprocal reading?  How do you organise it?

If you would like to experience reciprocal reading and find out more about the key skills come and join us on the 24th November.