Intervention details

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Reciprocal Reading

No impact for Primary reading
Not evaluated for Secondary reading

Intervention description

Reciprocal Reading is an approach to developing reading and comprehension. Developed in New Zealand in the 1980s, it can be used as an intervention with struggling readers, for shared reading or for guiding reading. The intervention involves at least two reciprocal reading sessions a week and runs for 10 to 12 weeks.

Professional development/training

Training is available for both primary schools and secondary schools, and covers how to deliver reciprocal reading as an intervention programme, as a form of guided reading or as a set of techniques to use in shared, whole class reading. Materials are provided as part of the training, including training notes, background information, advice on recording and assessment, sample planning linked to particular texts.

Evidence Summary

The Education Endowment Foundation (2019) carried out an evaluation of Reciprocal Reading. The study used a whole class approach in Year 4 and a targeted approach for pupils struggling with reading comprehension in Years 5 and 6. 

Pupils in the targeted group made more progress in terms of reading comprehension and overall reading. Prior to the intervention these pupils had good decoding skills but poor reading comprehension. The EEF is currently considering whether to conduct a larger trial of the targeted version of Reciprocal Reading.

The study found a mean effect size of +0.04 for primary reading.

No impact for Primary reading
No. of studies 4
No. of students 8,722
Average effect size +0.04

Key research

The Education Endowment Foundation (2019) study found promising results for pupils struggling with reading comprehension in Years 5 and 6.

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