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Chandos Primary School

Chandos Primary School

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Understanding Reciprocal Reading


When predicting the reader is anticipating what will come next in the text, based on appropriate prior knowledge, on the structure and content of the text and what they have read previously. This is important because:

  • Readers are preparing themselves to make more sense of the following text

  • Predicting encourages the reader to think ahead actively and to read with more engagement

  • Predicting gives a purpose for reading - they read to confirm or reject hypotheses

  • Readers need to be flexible and be prepared to change their ideas about texts. They need to understand that predictions should be plausible and logical but may change as the author gives more information.

Predictions might include:

  • What the reader might find out in the next section

  • How the narrative/story line/plot might develop

  • What new information might be introduced

Initially, the teacher will model how to predict, highlighting where their prediction came from, for example:

  • significant words, phrases or sentences

  • chapters or paragraphs read before

  • information from titles, subheadings, captions, pictures, illustrations or diagrams

  • background knowledge of the topic, theme, type of text or author.

The quality of predictions often can influence assessment information.



After predicting, the children will start to read the text: the amount the children read will be identified by the teacher.

This is an opportunity to:

  • Model what to do when we come up across a new, unknown word and how to do it.

  • Model how to decode words using chunking, phonics,  morphology (roots, suffix, prefix, words in words) and sentence context.

  • Hear children read outloud for confidence, volume, expression and punctuation.

  • Choose names at random to ensure all children are carefully following the text.

  • Children may read in pairs, with an adult or in small groups.  This is the ideal opportunity to not only assess decoding, but teach it.

Option: Teachers may ask for the children to read silently. Each child has a whiteboard. They can write any words or phrases they do not understand or words that they cannot read. This acts a memory jog for the discussion.



When clarifying, pupils have opportunities to deal with difficulties, including:

  • unfamiliar vocabulary - words or phrases

  • new or difficult concepts

  • when the meaning has been lost

It is important to remember that good readers clarify their understanding of a text and don’t skip over words they don’t understand. It is not a sign of failure to admit that you don’t understand a word or phrase.

The best words to clarify are those identified by the children themselves. They may ask for words to be clarified which to the teacher seem simple. Nonetheless it is important to discuss these words. Having clarified the meaning of the word/phrase, take children back to the text to check that the suggested meaning makes sense in the context.

This is also the opportunity for the teacher to provide synonyms, antonyms and real world explanations e.g act it out, or use Google to show it. It is also a chance to explore authorial intent - why was that word used, what does it suggest or imply, how does it make you feel?

Effective strategies to help children clarify meaning:

  • re-read the sentence(s) or paragraph

  • stop and think about what would make sense at this point

  • use the context of the passage - what they have read previously

  • use their knowledge of written language e.g. vocabulary, structure of the text, grammar

  • use a dictionary or thesaurus.



At this stage, teachers ask questions to explore the meaning of the text and to further deepen the children’s understanding of what they have just read.

This is an opportunity to:

  • assess the children’s understanding

  • develop children’s use of PJs (Point Justify) to improve the accuracy of their answers

  • challenge different answers (PPPB)

  • articulate what they have read, followed by what this infers

  • cover specific or a range of reading domains: important for teachers to remember the importance of explaining the meaning of words in context (2a), retrieving and recording information (2b) and making inferences from the text (2d)

  • ask test-style questions.



A summary identifies the main or most important information in the section read. It should sum up the passage read in one or two sentences.

Summarising encourages the reader to sift out the main ideas and discount less relevant or less important details from what they have just read. Putting a summary into their own words requires information to be understood and transformed. A good summary takes account of what has been read before and shows how the new information has developed the reader’s understanding. It sets up the prediction for the next section. A summary also gives a good indication of the reader’s understanding - so this is a potential assessment opportunity too.

This the area where children will need the most help initially: therefore, teachers need to model what to include and what needs to be left out in a summary and why.

If it is possible to mark the text, children could highlight particularly important information before trying to put it into their own words. Children could also write key words or phrases next to paragraphs or at the bottom of the page.