"I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do." Helen Keller

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Fran Richardson
Welcome to my blog!I'm a teacher in a beautiful, small, rural town. I moved here a few years ago, but I have taught over 20 years in this same small town that is now my home. My experience is in teaching second, third, and fourth grades with one year in sixth grade. I am always reading, learning, and reflecting on what goes on in my classroom. I love the work that I do with the parents, my fellow teachers, and most all-my students.I hope you will enjoy reading my blog.
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Monday, June 27, 2011


Today I am going to focus on something that inspired me  last year and  gave me an “A-ha!” moment: the teaching strategy of reciprocal teaching. I am a fan of this strategy because of this woman:
Lori Ozckus!Red heart



Thanks to her work in reading comprehension,  I changed how I approached  my small-groups and guided reading in my fourth grade  social studies classroom.I had been searching for  years for new ways to make reading a more interactive, hands-on experience-one that involves  movement and manipulatives and yet “kept it real” for fourth graders.  Hers was the first book I encountered that  does just that!

First,  an example of Lori Oczkus’  in action teaching a reading lesson from You Tube:

Lori Ozckus takes  reading comprehension and makes it interactive with the use of  both hand signals and puppetry in her book Interactive Think-Aloud Lessons. One of my fellow teachers who is a kindergarten teacher also had  interest in the use of hand signals and movement with her kindergarten students to enhance learning. When we talked about this book, she grew excited and confirmed to me that she had seen firsthand in her own classroom how this strategy could work. I was ready to try these strategies of adding a movement and interaction to  help readers in my  fourth grade classroom.



While I really loved the idea of the hand signals for read-alouds, in the intermediate grades, our focus in reading  shifts from “learning to read” to “reading to learn”  because more reading is done in content-areas. While I still do read-alouds,  I teach social studies so the reading strategies I address need to scaffold readers who are beginning to delve into the complexities of informational texts and nonfiction content-area reading. When we read in my class whether it is a shared reading, guided reading, or a read-aloud, I also have to address content, and my time is limited so I need lessons that can pull double-duty.

I went on a search again for interactive strategies and found that lo and behold: Lori Ozckus  also has a book on this as well- reciprocal teaching! Open-mouthed smile

But I have to admit that at that time, I REALLY wasn’t sure if I knew what reciprocal teaching even meant.Confused smile

Another Google search took me to seeing how this strategy could  be used in the content-areas and in any upper grade classroom where reading takes place in some form nearly every day.

Here is reciprocal teaching in action in an intermediate classroom:

I was convinced just by what I  saw that this strategy could work for me. Lucky for me, I found a chapter sample from her book online here:


Please visit  Lori Oczkus’ website, you can see more of her work in using reciprocal teaching in action along with some additional handouts such as a viewing guide.



In my next several blogs, I am going to show how I took some ideas from the work of  Lori Ockzus along with several other online resources to adapt and create my own reciprocal teaching style along with some lessons and resources to help in your classroom.

Mason Klimek and Abel Mendiola_Grunge_1



"I bear the flame that enlightens the world. I fire the imagination. I give might to dreams and wings to the aspirations of men."
- Marva Collins, from her poem, "I Am Excellence."

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