Reciprocal Teaching and Comprehension of Struggling Readers

Humaira Raslie, Damien Mikeng, Su-Hie Ting


This preliminary study examined the effect of reciprocal teaching on struggling readers’
comprehension of a narrative text. The specific aspects studied were: (1) their suggestions to
remake the ending of the narrative text based on preceding events; (2) their guided recall of
details making up the gist of the narrative; and (3) their unguided recall of the gist of the
narrative. The reciprocal teaching strategy was used to teach a literary text to 14 Malaysian
struggling readers of English. The results showed that in the first lesson these students could
not yet make links between the events of the story to suggest an alternative resolution of the
narrative. Subsequently, their responses in the guided recall task showed that the four groups
were able to supply the information making up gist of the story. However, the final unguided
recall task showed that two groups usually provided their evaluation of their story and could
remember only disparate details in the orientation of the story but could not recall major
events. The findings suggest that a major challenge of implementing the reciprocal teaching
strategy is guiding groups to share the task of monitoring their own comprehension through
questioning, clarifying, summarizing and predicting.

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