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Abstract

Reciprocal teaching (RT) is a process involving four distinct activities (questioning, clarifying, summarising and predicting) employed in a student-led, team approach to develop reading comprehension skills among primary students. In this study a series of readings were prepared for a topic taught within the NSW key learning area of Human Society and its Environment (HSIE). The readings were used in a study comparing the effects of RT with those of a more traditional approach to reading. A mixedmethod procedure was employed with 25 Year Four students who were divided into two groups (control and experimental) balanced for age, sex and ability. Both groups were pre- and post-tested for their knowledge of information supplied within the readings. An analysis of variance of the results indicated no detriment to the use of the RT procedures in comparison to the effective traditional approach taken by the home-teacher. Further, exit interviews with, and journal entries of students from both groups suggested that while the students in the control group viewed reading as a decoding process, the students from the RT group had begun to internalise the questioning and clarifying strategies and viewed reading as a process of dealing with ideas (comprehension).

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