Effective Teaching Strategies: Modeling, Reciprocal Teaching, Exploring Expository Texts

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Help underachieving students catch up with these effective teaching strategies. This series will discuss Modeling, Reciprocal Teaching, and Exploring Expository Texts.

After employing these effective teaching methods, you will receive praise from students, other teachers, administrators, and parents. You don’t have to give me credit, but you can send me a thank you e-mail.


Before you slip on that silky night gown and prepare to walk down the runway (something I would not recommend doing in your classroom), try a different type of modeling.

Modeling in the classroom means vocalizing a thinking process.

  • Begin by reading a segment of text aloud as students follow along.
  • In everyday language, reason aloud. Verbalize the steps expert readers follow to solve a reading problem or analyze a text.
  • Encourage students to apply similar procedures as they read.

I will use our good friend William Shakespeare to illustrate:

I read: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet.” (Romeo and Juliet II, ii, 1-2)

I say: Gee, that line sounds familiar. I’ve heard it before. I wonder what it means? “A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet.” I guess what Juliet is saying in this passage is it doesn’t matter what you call a rose, it still smells really good. Is that true? I wonder. I don’t think it’s true. In fact, I bet if you held a rose up to the average person’s nose and said, “Here. Smell poop” that it would not smell as sweet. In fact, I bet if you simply changed the smooth Latin consonant sounds to rough Anglo-Saxon consonants–for example, call a rose a “clackakirk bush”– it would lose its olefactory pleasantness. What do you guys think?

Sound of Crickets.

I continue: I wonder what this romantic insight by Juliet adds to the play. I think what she is saying is “it doesn’t matter what Romeo’s last name is. He’s hot. In fact, before I realized he was a Montague, I really wanted to dance with him. Names don’t matter!”

I could go on and on, but you get the point.

Student Responsibilities

To complete the modeling process, have students repeat the steps. We’ll continue with our Romeo and Juliet example.

Little Sally reads: “A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet.”

Awkward Silence (Now’s a good time for encouragement).

Little Sally says: Well. Ummmm. Ummmm. I think a rose would actually smell better if you called it raw sewage because if you think you’re about to smell raw sewage then you’re expecting a really horrible smell but you get a sweet fragrance instead. So by contrast the rose is the best smelling rose ever made. The fact that Juliet has fallen in love with the enemy makes the romance even hotter than before because we all know when something is forbidden it seems more attractive (at this point, every guy in the room who Sally’s parents would not approve of start to pay attention).

Final Words on Modeling

Modeling takes time. However, it will inspire students to read on their own, which in the long run will save time.

This post is part of the series: Effective Teaching Methods

Work smarter not harder.

  1. Effective Teaching Methods
  2. Strategies for Reading Expository Texts
  3. Techniques and Ideas for Teaching Drama
  4. Teaching Methods on How to Lecture without Losing Control of the Class?
  5. Design Your Own Homework Rubric