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Improving reading comprehension through metacognitive strategy instruction: Evaluating the evidence for the effectiveness of the reciprocal teaching procedure

Ann Marie Galloway, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Over the past 30 years, research has increasingly sought to examine the efficacy of metacognitive strategy instruction to improve reading comprehension. While some interventions have focused on single-strategy interventions, others have employed multiple-component strategy packages to improve the self-regulatory skills of readers. Reciprocal Teaching is the most widely researched multi-component metacognitive strategy-training program. Although an early review of the Reciprocal Teaching procedure was conducted in 1994 (Rosenshine & Meister), it was based primarily on unpublished work. Since that time, the number of published studies examining the Reciprocal Teaching procedure has more than doubled. In addition, recent advances in the evaluation of the evidence base for interventions in school psychology have helped to delineate the variables important for reviewing interventions in education and psychology. Using a traditional meta-analysis in conjunction with recently developed standards for evaluating evidence-based interventions in School Psychology, this study found a moderate effect size for interventions employing the Reciprocal Teaching procedure to improve reading comprehension. Unlike the earlier review of the Reciprocal Teaching procedure, this study did not find significant differences between the effect sizes produced for norm-referenced and experimenter/teacher-generated tests. Analysis of measures of strategy use and reading comprehension follow-up measures suggest that the effects of Reciprocal Teaching are not only a function of strategy use but are maintained over time. While the certainty with which conclusions can be drawn from this study is limited due to a relatively small sample size, the Reciprocal Teaching procedure appears to hold promise for helping students to develop the types of self-regulatory strategies used by skilled readers to promote reading comprehension. While there remain a number of questions regarding the conditions under which Reciprocal Teaching is maximally effective, the available evidence suggests that the procedure can help readers to develop skills that promote independent reading comprehension. Future research that investigates permutations of the procedure, its utility with populations with varying demographic characteristics, and the relationship between this procedure and other forms of reading instruction is likely to promote greater understanding of the procedure and its effects.

Subject Area

Literacy|Reading instruction

Recommended Citation

Galloway, Ann Marie, "Improving reading comprehension through metacognitive strategy instruction: Evaluating the evidence for the effectiveness of the reciprocal teaching procedure" (2003). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI3092542.