Reciprocal Teaching: Clarifying

Estimated reading: 2 minutes

Another key component to Reciprocal Teaching is clarifying. Lori Oczkus (Reciprocal Teaching at Work) created a character named “Clara the Clarifier”. Clara points to words or phrases that she doesn’t understand. This is another multi-sensory, direct approach to teaching the skill of clarifying.  It’s important that the teacher models this skill first. 

Clarifying Activities

  • Using an object to represent clarifying such as a magnifying glass or eyeglasses to represent looking more “closely” at a word or idea.
  • Using a hand gesture such as putting two parallel hands up with palms facing in, to represent the “pause” button.  You could also have students hold their hands up to their eyes as though they have glasses.  These both represent to stop and look closely at understanding the meaning of a word or idea. 
  • Creating a poster with sentence stems such as:  I don’t understand the word _____.  I need help understanding _______.  I get confused where it says _________. 
  • Having students draw their own version of Clara the Clarifier with keywords all around her.


The most important aspect is to remember to always model for the students. Then have them practice clarifying with each other. Use these strategies in all areas of the school day and not just in reading. This will help them transfer that skill to other areas.