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A teaching approach for slow learners gaining wide appeal

Alezander Duran reads
Alezander Duran reads "Flyboy of Underwhere" by Bruce Hale. A teaching method used for slow readers increasingly helps all students.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Want to help your kids improve their reading skills over the summer? You may want to try a teaching approach designed three decades ago for slow readers – educators are having success using it with all students.

Reciprocal teaching, deconstructs the reading process into four components:

Sounds complicated, but it’s really about sitting down with your kids and reading something aloud with them and interjecting with the occasional question, such as “what do you think will happen next?” or “do you know what that word means?” or “what has happened so far in the story?”

The teaching method was first developed in 1984 by then-University of Illinois professors Annemarie Sullivan Palincsar and the late Ann L. Brown.  The approach is now widely used in the U.S. and Canada and broadly taught and discussed in U.S. teacher training programs. 

In recent years, reciprocal teaching has been used with readers of all levels and even to teach other subjects – history and math, for example -- for one simple reason: students benefit from the more structured approach to reading. Give it a try.

Have other tips to help kids improve their reading skills over the summer? Leave them in the comments below.