What is Collaborative Strategic Reading?

Collaborative strategic reading (C.S.R.) encourages students to work collaboratively when they use comprehension strategies. Four strategies can be deployed, which will be explained in the following sections. A word of caution: the choice of strategy will depend on a student’s level of achievement. Each of these strategies can be used in small groups.

How it Works

The teacher will explain the strategies to the class through modeling, role-playing, and think-alouds. The teacher will facilitate the whole process while maximizing students’ involvement.

C.S.R. was designed to help students who are at risk for reading difficulties and already have reading difficulties and delays, but upon further exploration and experimentation, C.S.R. was seen to be beneficial for average and above-average readers.

The Strategies

  1. Preview: students will skim through a text for about two to three minutes to grasp what the entire text is about. The goals of this strategy include learning as much about the text as possible in a limited amount of time, stimulating any memory or prior knowledge about the topic, and help students predict the outcome. This strategy can be applied to any subject.

Tip: look for the headings, pictures, and underlined text.

  1. Click and clunk: as the students go through the text per paragraph, students will say “click” if they understand the message of the paragraph and “clunk” if they don’t. This is to train the students to identify when they understand or cannot understand some parts of a text.
  1. Get the gist: the students will identify the main idea of the entire text (it could be a sentence or a paragraph). When the students find the gist, they will paraphrase it to see whether they understand what the text was about.
  1. Wrap Up: to wrap up a reading session, students will be encouraged to ask questions about the text. These questions will be addressed to their peers, and the peers have to provide an answer. These questions can be fact-based (regarding details from the text) to test their ability to recall or critical thinking questions to encourage higher-order thinking.

Final Thoughts

Collaborative strategic reading has been an effective tool in increasing students’ reading speed and comprehension. These strategies can be applied across the curriculum to different subjects and texts of various lengths. Using these strategies has helped students complete standardized tests, especially the sections devoted to reading comprehension. C.S.R. can help later in life as students take on more challenging subjects and various reading materials.

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