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Research Report

Reciprocal Teaching of Comprehension-Fostering and Comprehension-Monitoring Activities

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Two instructional studies directed at the comprehension-fostering and comprehension-monitoring activities of seventh grade poor comprehenders are reported. The four study activities were summarizing (self-review), questioning, clarifying, and predicting. The training method was that of reciprocal teaching, where the tutor and students took turns leading a dialogue centered on pertinent features of the text. In Study 1, a comparison between the reciprocal teaching method and a second intervention modeled on typical classroom practice resulted in greater gains and maintenance over time for the reciprocal procedure. Reciprocal teaching, with an adult model guiding the student to interact with the text in more sophisticated ways, led to a significant improvement in the quality of the summaries and questions. It also led to sizable gains on criterion tests of comprehension, reliable maintenance over time, generalization to classroom comprehension tests, transfer to novel tasks that tapped the trained skills of summarizing, questioning, and clarifying, and improvement in standardized comprehension scores. Many of these results were replicated in Study 2. In contrast to Study 1, which was conducted by an experimenter, Study 2 examined group interventions conducted by volunteer teachers with their existing reading groups.


Palincsar, A.S., & Brown, A.L. (1984). Reciprocal teaching of comprehension-fostering and comprehension-monitoring activities. Cognition and Instruction, 2, 117-175.