Learning to read effectively can be a daunting task to many of our learners. Part of the problem may lie with how the individual student approaches the text. In other words, does the learner approach reading in a passive manner or in a more active process?
Good readers usually display specific habits as they begin to read a written piece. Prior to reading; predictions as to what the written material is about are made. Next, specific questions are generated that may be answered through reading. Following the reading of the text, the learners will summarize the information that is presented. Specifically, this means that the learner will be thinking about how the text is organized, the key points, and certain details that relate to the key points. Finally, it is important that clarification takes place in that confusing points are cleared up.
All of the above does not always happen automatically. Good reading habits that facilitate engagement with the text is critical to comprehension. The reading habits of prediction, question generating, summarizing, and clarifying need to be practiced in an ongoing manner. One excellent way to approach the development of these habits is through the reciprocal reading strategy.
Reciprocal reading is an approach that is used to enhance the comprehension of text through the development of critical reading habits. The four habits identified in the process (Prediction, Question Generating, Summarizing, Clarifying) are reinforced through collaborative reading groups that are led by a facilitator.
This year six parent volunteers from TES have been trained in the process of facilitating reciprocal reading groups. These parents will soon be going into fourth grade classrooms and working with small groups of students. The classroom teacher will select the text and the parent volunteers will lead the small groups through a process of engaging with the selected text utilizing the four reciprocal reading habits.
This is a pilot project and the goal is to provide another way to help our students learn to become effective and engaged readers. I wish to thank our volunteers for their willingness to participate in this very promising initiative. Please let me know, if you have any questions and / or would like additional information on this approach.