Reciprocal Reading

What is Reciprocal Reading?

Reciprocal Reading is a framework for teaching understanding in reading.


Reciprocal Reading improves reading by teaching children strategies that they can use to help them understand what they are reading.

  • Reciprocal Reading can be used by children of all ability levels.
  • It encourages children to think about their own thought processes.
  • It helps children to be actively involved and boosts confidence.
  • It is challenging and fosters a real interest and excitement for reading.

The strategies we use, which will be explained further on, are

  • Making connections
  • Predicting
  • Visualising
  • Clarifying
  • Questioning
  • Summarising

These strategies are used, before, during and after reading. They are introduced over a period of time to ensure each strategy is fully understood.

Initially the teacher models the strategies. Gradually the children’s confidence and competence increases and the adult input decreases. The eventual aim is that children will use the strategies independently.

What does Reciprocal Reading involve and how can you help at home?

  • Making connections – This helps us make links to what we already know and new information.

With your child look at the title, pictures, and any headings. Ask your child to think about how the text relates to their life or experiences, a book they have read, events in the real world or something they have read on the computer, seen on TV or heard in a song.


  • Predicting – This uses clues to make guesses about what is being read.

Ask your child to predict what they think might happen in the text they are about to read. Ask them to explain their reasons for thinking this. They can also predict as they read through a story to guess what might happen next. After reading encourage your child to check if their predictions are correct.

  • Visualising – Good readers create pictures in their minds as they are reading and this helps them understand the story. Good readers don't just read their stories, they live their stories!

Have your child stop and think about what they see in their minds. Have them close their eyes and picture it.  What do they see?  What do they hear? What do they add to their own picture to help the image come alive?  Encourage them to use all their senses and build on what the author has said. See more than what is in the text.  


  • Clarifying – This is where readers look for clues to help make sense of unknown words.


During reading ask your child to pick out words or pieces of text they are unsure of. Talk together to try and work out what the word might mean, by using some fix up strategies. (Strategies to help clarify.)


1. STOP and think

5. Make connections

2. Reread

6. Look at pictures

3. Read on

7. Substitute  a word

4. Visualise

8. Look it up


  • Questioning – We ask questions as it helps increase our understanding of the text.

 Ask your child to make up questions about the text.

Good questions ask: who, what, when, where, why and how.


  • Summarising – We do this after reading because it helps us draw out the main ideas and shows our understanding of the text.

Ask your child to tell you about the most important information and put it into their own words.