The effects of reciprocal teaching techniques on reading comprehension for limited English proficient students

Date of Completion

January 1996


Education, Bilingual and Multicultural|Education, Reading|Education, Curriculum and Instruction




Increases in the limited English proficient (LEP) population in United States public school classrooms (Garcia, 1994) result in a need for effective instructional programs in reading comprehension. This study addressed this need. Reciprocal teaching has been recognized as an effective method for the improvement of reading comprehension in children who can decode but who experience difficulty understanding text (Palincsar & Brown, 1984). Little research is available to assess whether this increasingly popular strategy, recommended for poor readers, is also useful for the Limited English Proficient (LEP) student (Brady, 1990; Casanave, 1988; Hernandez, 1991).^ Reciprocal teaching encourages student initiated prediction, clarification, question generation and summarization. It is currently under consideration by bilingual researchers as a method of strategy instruction for improving LEP reading comprehension. Strategy instruction is one of the approaches that has resulted from investigations in schema theory and metacognition studies. Students receive training in four strategies that relate to skilled comprehension and comprehension monitoring.^ This study examined the effects of reciprocal teaching methods on reading comprehension scores with mainstream and LEP students. Two comparison groups of fourth-grade students were the subjects of the study. Students in eight classes received 16 sessions of reciprocal teaching or reading practice (control condition) delivered by their regular classroom teachers. A pre-test post-test control group design was used. An analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was used to test the research hypotheses.^ Results from the ANCOVA showed no significant improvement in reading comprehension for either the the control or the experiment group. Likewise the research yielded no evidence of a significant difference between bilingual and monolingual students in later reading comprehension. Nor was there evidence of a significant interaction between language proficiency and treatment. The results generally did not support the hypotheses and the theoretical framework of the study. ^