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Reciprocal Teaching

Content Area: English – Novel
Topic of lesson: The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Rationale of lesson: Students will examine through a variety of print, non-print, electronic, and other media the effects of “cultural integration” described in The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan, an Asian American author, to develop their understanding of and grapple with the conflicts inherent in the fusion of Chinese and American cultures as well as to explore the themes, motifs, and symbolism in mother-daughter relationships.
Acknowledgment of Content Expert and Consultants: Pam Mayette and Dr. Mary Ellen Beatty-O’Ferrall
Type of strategy/approach: Reciprocal Teaching
Purpose of using strategy/approach: Use reciprocal teaching through comprehension strategy instruction to improve reading and listening comprehension by teaching students to utilize four strategies usually used by expert readers to improve how students interact with the text and to develop their problem-solving skills.
How to implement strategy:

Materials needed: copies of The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan in the unabridged text version, abridged sound recording (of the author published by Dove Audio in 1989 available on two cassette tapes or an audio compact disk running 3 hours long), and the movie version released by Hollywood Pictures in 1993; Joy Luck Club Reading Comprehension Assessment; Scoring Key for Joy Luck Club Reading Comprehension Assessment; Reciprocal teaching slide; and Reciprocal teaching poster (at least one); copies of Reciprocal teaching pamphlet that can fit on an index card; index cards; glue sticks; tape; overhead projector or computer with projector; pencils and or pens; note card (with one of the following four roles written on it: Questioner, Clarifier, Predictor, and Summarizer and the Reciprocal teaching pamphlet on the other); Reciprocal teaching note taking sheet; Reciprocal teaching worksheet; model talking aloud using all four strategies below; a model of completing a reciprocal teaching worksheet; a model of completing reciprocal teaching note taking sheet; English journals or pieces of paper; computer(s) with Microsoft Excel software; graph paper, pencils; colored markers; highlighters; dictionary in book form; and computers providing access to dictionary over the Internet.

Step-by-step instructions:

1. Plan on students spending time building their background information in order to raise their interest/motivation to learn about the main topics of The Joy Luck Club, which are the American immigrant experience, culture (specifically the Chinese culture), and mother-daughter relationships.
a. Accordingly provide meaningful opportunities for students to develop background knowledge of China, Chinese culture, Chinese American immigrants during the 1930s, and the Chinese-American lifestyle and culture in San Francisco, California, which is the setting for The Joy Luck Club.
1) Direct students to take a “virtual field trip” to San Francisco over the Internet, so the students can picture the neighborhood, the historic sites, and remarkable vistas.
2) Post a map of San Francisco on the classroom wall so that the students can see Chinatown and where the characters in the story lived.
3) Encourage students to share their experiences and personal knowledge about relatives in their families who have immigrated, their understanding of culture, and the relationships of the students (e.g., boys as well as girls) with their mother and grandmothers through class and small group activities.
2. In preparation for a lesson on reading and comprehending The Joy Luck Club using Reciprocal Teaching, collect data on each student’s reading comprehension by giving a reading assessment.
a. Have the students read a passage immediately following the heading “Feathers from a Thousand Li Away” (which is 389 words long) on page 17 of the paperback version of The Joy Luck Club (To view online, go to http://www.amazon.com/Joy-Luck-Club-Amy-Tan/dp/0143038095/ref=roscitrea-20#reader_0143038095).
b. Provide each student with the Joy Luck Club Reading Comprehension Assessment.
c. Tell the students to read the passage and then complete the Joy Luck Club Reading Comprehension Assessment.
d. Note that the students can leave the novel open for use during the assessment.
e. For the first 3 responses, tell the students to pretend they are the teacher and to create three “good” questions about the passage.
f. For the next 5 responses, tell the students to answer the short questions which will require the students to find the information in the text; although this is not traditionally a measure of reading comprehension, this ability to identify correct information in text is an essential skill each student needs to acquire to be able to complete work independently (Lederer, 2000).
g. Lastly, direct the students to summarize (not list) the main points of the passage.
h. Tell the students to complete all blanks on the assessment form.
i. Allow 30 minutes for the students to read the passage and complete the Joy Luck Club Reading Comprehension Assessment.
j. Use Scoring Key for Joy Luck Club Reading Comprehension Assessment to assess student performance.
k. Then discuss results with each student individually and obtain a written commitment from student to learn Reciprocal Teaching so that the student improves her or his ability to comprehend text.
3. Discuss that in order to read effectively a student must learn how to interact with the text to discern what the author is conveying both directly and indirectly.
a. Note that good readers have learned more than one strategy or trick to help them comprehend what they will read.
b. Emphasize that while reading skilled readers will question what they read, summarize what the main points are, identify and clarify what did not make sense, and predict what will come next.
c. Tell the students that they will be learning a reading activity to improve their reading and listening comprehension by utilizing four strategies usually used by expert readers to improve how students interact with the text and to develop their problem-solving skills.
d. By learning how to implement Reciprocal Teaching, each student will become more confident in their reading skills and may use it in other courses.
4. Then discuss and assist each student set her or his goals for learning the four strategies utilized during Reciprocal Teaching with specific date for completing phases of training.

Plan on teaching Reciprocal Teaching during 45-min classes over the course of several weeks until the students no longer require your support.

5. Assist each student to set quality and quantity goals with respect her or his reading comprehension.
6. Create a slide and poster as follows:


7. While displaying the slide to the students on a whiteboard by a computer, tell the students that Reciprocal Teaching is composed of four strategies.
8. Describe Reciprocal Teaching through each of the four strategies utilized (question-generating, summarizing, clarifying, and predicting), the general situations where Reciprocal Teaching can be used (to improve reading and listening comprehension), the benefits the students can expect from learning and utilizing Reciprocal Teaching (improve the quality of your content knowledge), and the guidelines, cautions, or exceptions for using Reciprocal Teaching, such as when students will watch a DVD of The Joy Luck Club or listen to a tape recording of The Joy Luck Club or their classmate reads it aloud.
9. Describe, and model talking aloud each strategy to be incorporated in Reciprocal Teaching emphasizing that as the students gradually assume the teaching role working with their classmates and the teacher in small groups to comprehend what they read in the novel, discussions with classmates will increase and discussions with the teacher will decrease.
a. Note that the first strategy is question-generating with regard to the main idea so that a student must create four or five questions a teacher might ask to assess what the student knows about a paragraph or segment of a text.
1) Emphasize that a student will understand the text read more thoroughly if she or he creates questions about the material read and then self-tests using those questions.
2) Note that a student must identify the concepts mentioned in the text by asking and answering who, what, when, where, and how questions.
3) Model how to identify main points in the novel using the passage immediately following the heading “Feathers from a Thousand Li Away” (which is 389 words long) on page 17 of the paperback version of The Joy Luck Club (which is the passage each student read for the reading comprehension assessment).
4) Model how to ask others in one’s small group for information that would help a student‘s understanding as well as the understanding of others in one’s group.
b. Note that the second strategy is summarizing wherein a student must integrate the content of the novel across paragraphs and sections in the passage follow the following five rules:
1) Delete trivia,
2) Delete redundancy,
3) Superordinate (so that subcategories are subsumed under a more comprehensive category) , and
4) Select topic sentence or
5) Invent topic sentence where one was not explicitly stated in a paragraph or segment.
a) Model how to put the main points in the novel together in summary form using the passage immediately following the heading “Feathers from a Thousand Li Away” (which is 389 words long) on page 17 of the paperback version of The Joy Luck Club (which is the passage each student read for the reading comprehension assessment).
c. Note that the third strategy is clarifying wherein a student is to identify what does not make sense to the student with the goal of clarifying it.
1) Model recognizing why the text may be difficult to comprehend, such as exposure to new concepts, unfamiliar vocabulary, and obscure associations within the text.
2) Model talking aloud how a student will anticipate barriers to understanding the author’s intended meaning and act by rereading the text, using context for identifying the meaning of an unfamiliar word, asking for help, looking up a word in the dictionary, etc.
d. Note the fourth strategy is predicting wherein a student is to predict what the next topic might be in the next paragraph or segment of text.
1) Model how to use the main points and summary of the passage immediately following the heading “Feathers from a Thousand Li Away” (which is 389 words long) on page 17 of the paperback version of The Joy Luck Club (which is the passage each student read for the reading comprehension assessment) to predict where the story will go.
10. Divide the students into heterogeneous groups of four and assign one of the following reciprocal teaching roles to each student.
a. Questioner
b. Summarizer
c. Clarifier
d. Predictor
11. Tell students to get into their assigned groups.
12. Distribute one note card (with one of the four roles written on it on one side with the Reciprocal Teaching slide cited above on the other side) to each member of the group identifying each person's unique role.
13. Hand out a Reciprocal teaching note taking sheet and a Reciprocal teaching worksheet to each student.
14. Direct the students to read a passage of three to four pages in four chunks of paragraph by paragraph depending upon her or his reading level while completing the Reciprocal teaching note taking sheet followed by the Reciprocal teaching worksheet.
15. Note that the segments will be read silently, orally by students, or orally by the teacher depending on the decoding ability of each student.
16. Note that each student will take notes using the Reciprocal teaching note taking sheet to complete the Reciprocal teaching worksheet.
17. Following the reading of each chunk or paragraph of the chapter, ask each student to think of a question or questions that could be asked about the selection, such as if there were
e. unclear parts,
f. puzzling information,
g. connections to other concepts already learned, and
h. motivations of the characters, agents, or actors, etc.
18. Call on one student to provide a question.
19. Model how to refine the question.
20. Encourage others to join in refining the question or raising another question.
21. Note that later the Questioner within each group will undertake this role.
22. Model how to summarize the chunk or paragraph that has just been read in accordance with the five rules.
23. Encourage the students to refine the summary.
24. Note that later the Summarizer within each group will summarize the passage.
25. Model how to identify and make sense of confusing parts (including words, associations, or concepts) of the passage read it.
26. Encourage the students to assist in identifying what does not make sense to them with the goal of clarifying it.
27. Note that later the Clarifier within each group will undertake this role.
28. Model how to think ahead and predict what the author will be sharing next and where the narrative will take the reader.
29. Encourage the students to assist in predicting the plot in the next section of the novel.
30. Note that later the Predictor within each group will undertake this role.
31. Note as you teach the four strategies to your students the importance of modeling the four comprehension strategies in context with the text being used for class so that the students recognize the value of each strategy while you gradually transfer the responsibility for applying each strategy to the students providing encouraging feedback and ongoing evaluation.
32. Repeat this process for each paragraph or section having the students switch roles by passing the role card each possesses to the person to the right.
33. Guide and support the groups and group members to learn how to implement the strategies and undertake all four roles decreasing your leadership until each group can perform reciprocal teaching entirely without the need for support and involvement.
34. Direct students to glue a copy of Reciprocal Teaching on to index cards with a glue stick and then tape the index cards to her or his desk or in their English journal.
35. Tell students that they must memorize the strategies included in Reciprocal Teaching so remind them to work on learning how to utilize all four strategies throughout the days/weeks of learning Reciprocal Teaching.
36. Note that over time students will phase out their need to refer to Reciprocal Teaching taped on the student’s desk or in the student’s English journal and on a poster in the classroom and to use Reciprocal Teaching.
37. Have student self-assess their reading comprehension using the Scoring Key for Joy Luck Club Reading Comprehension Assessment to evaluate their comprehension on a passage deeper in the Joy Luck Club after several weeks of learning Reciprocal Teaching.
38. Using technology, teach each student how to chart her or his performance using an Excel spreadsheet recording the sums earned on each of the three elements rated, i.e., created questions, answers to questions, and summaries. Have students use graph paper if using Excel is not an option.
39. Chart collected data from students and data you collected through observation.
40. Review data from student and the data you collected with student independently.
41. Congratulate students on their hard work, and review with them their goals for next time.
42. You may wish to have students volunteer to read their summaries to the class or post the summaries for all students.
43. Assist students in generalizing the use of Reciprocal Teaching by first leading a discussion with the students to identify and plan to use the strategy in other settings, second having the students try Reciprocal Teaching in other settings and report back to class, and plan to have students use Reciprocal Teaching at other times during class.

References for exemplar:

Bottomley, D., & Osborn, J. (1993). Implementing reciprocal teaching with fourth- and fifth- grade students in content area reading (Technical Report No. 586). Champaign, IL: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Center for the Study of Reading.

Lederer, J. M. (2000). Reciprocal teaching of social studies in inclusive elementary classrooms. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 33, 91-106.

Palincsar, A. S., & Brown, A. L. (1984). Reciprocal teaching of comprehension-fostering and comprehension-monitoring activities. Cognition and Instruction, 1, 117-175.

Palincsar, A. S., Brown, A. L., & Martin, S. M. (1987). Peer interaction in reading comprehension instruction. Educational Psychologist, 22, 231-253.

Websites for exemplar:

Regan, K., & Mastropieri, M. A. (2009). Current practice alert 17: Self-regulated strategy development (SRSD) for writing. Arlington, VA: Division for Learning Disabilities (DLD) and Division for Research (DR) of the Council for Exceptional Children. Retrieved September 20, 2010, from http://www.teachingld.org

University of Kansas’ Special connections: Adaptations for writing at
http://www.specialconnections.ku.edu/cgi-bin/cgiwrap/specconn/main.php?cat=instruction&section=main&subsection=writing/adaptations

University of Kansas’ Special connections: Revising strategies at
http://www.specialconnections.ku.edu/cgi-bin/cgiwrap/specconn/main.php?cat=instruction&section=main&subsection=writing/revise

What Works Clearinghouse: Adolescent literacy: Intervention: Reciprocal teaching (September 2010) at http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/reports/adolescent_literacy/rec_teach/index.asp
(noting reciprocal teaching was found to have mixed results from medium to large effects on the comprehension of adolescent learners)